We all deal with stress and anxiety—especially when we’re at work. Stress can have a massive impact on your work productivity, your relationships, and most importantly, your mental and physical health.
In reality, stress isn’t all bad. For most people, it can be an effective motivator for success and self-improvement. But if you’re already experiencing bad headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, sleep problems, and other negative side effects of stress, then it may be time to start taking the necessary steps to help you manage your stress more effectively.
If you’re wondering what “too much” stress is like and whether or not it’s already affecting your efficiency at work and your overall quality of life, try out this graphic flow chart by Pound Place.
If you got anything but Calm after answering the infographic above, then you’re at risk of suffering the detrimental effects of too much stress.
Now that you've determined your own personal stress levels, it’s time to make an effort to address the problem. Here are a couple of helpful tips for dealing with stress in the workplace:
Take time to pinpoint the things that stress you out the most. If it’s a recurring problem that you can solve, it might be time for you to be more proactive and focus on dealing with the problem once and for all. At the same time, don’t have unrealistic expectations for what you have to accomplish within a certain time period as this will only set you up for disappointment—and even more stress.
Drinking and emotional eating have become pretty common outlets for stress, but we all know it can actually be counterproductive. Instead of fighting stress with too much food or alcohol, go for hobbies and recreational activities that will help you recharge your mind and body. Whether it’s going bowling, watching a movie with friends, or reading a good book, make sure you find time for these little pleasures.
Working out releases pent up energy and “feel good” hormones called endorphins, which should help relieve your stress and make you feel better. Aside from going to the gym or working out at home, make it a point to increase your daily physical activity to reap its many benefits. You can also relieve stress while at work or even in school by using non-distracting desk exercise equipment, like the SitFlow desk swing.
Most people resort to binge eating their favorite “comfort” foods whenever they feel stressed. However, it should go without saying that this does more harm than good—particularly when you’re dealing with stress. The better option is to eat a more balanced diet with nutritious food choices like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If you need a treat, choose healthier options like dark chocolate or dried fruit. Also, skip the sugary drinks and opt for a comforting glass of warm tea or milk.
The best way to feel more prepared to handle the day’s work is to get enough rest the night before. Do your best to avoid screen time before bed and maintain a regular work and sleep schedule. You need to give yourself ample time to recharge, as sleep deprivation can greatly affect your mood, making it even more difficult to deal with stress.
Many forget that productivity is not about doing as many tasks as you can, but about accomplishing the right goals. Shorten your to-do list by listing down only the most important tasks and delegate those that don’t need your expertise so you don’t end up stressing over your workload. Also, remember what your priorities are outside of work, like your family and health. For many, this helps put things in perspective and keeps them from worrying too much about issues at work.
One way to start organizing your thoughts is to organize your workplace. Stress comes from the littlest things, like not being able to find what you need on your desk quickly and feeling out of control due to the presence of clutter. Start each day by decluttering and organizing things that you really need on your desk. It should eventually be easier to maintain the orderliness once you start making it a habit.
It’s normal for workers to sometimes feel lazy and unproductive, especially after a particularly busy work week. However, when we purposely delay our work, we mindlessly add to our own stress and put ourselves at risk of suffering more stress. To help lessen stressful situations, make a real effort to quit procrastinating. Give yourself ample time to finish your tasks so that you don’t end up inadvertently placing yourself in stressful, high-pressure situations.
Don’t be afraid to open up to someone close to you—like a friend, family member, or a work colleague—about the things that stress you out. Sharing (and venting) helps you blow off steam and get support (or sympathy). You can also lend an ear and provide support to others, which can help you put your own troubles into perspective. Sometimes, hearing about someone else’s problems can help you realize that your own seemingly impossible situations are relatively easier to deal with in comparison.
One of the most common reasons behind a person’s stress is negativity, which can come from yourself or from the people around you. Negativity can have a big impact on your energy and motivation, so try your best to avoid it and fight it with positivity. Don’t be too hard on yourself, reward yourself for every job well done, and inject some fun and humor to lighten up the atmosphere.
Remember—in healthy doses, stress can be a good thing. It would be unrealistic to think that you can eliminate all stress from your life, whether in the workplace or at home, so the best thing we can do is to learn how to deal with stress so that we can reduce its negative effects on our health.
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