10 Easy Ways To Combat Work Stress
It is natural for everyone to feel stress at some point in their lives and some stress can even be beneficial by creating motivation and the desire to do well. However, the problem comes when someone feels unable to cope with the amount of pressure they’re under, which can lead to negative feelings of worry, anxiety and helplessness. Stress can affect the body both mentally and physically, causing symptoms such as unexplained aches, digestive problems, headaches and restless nights. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to help combat everyday work stress that will encourage feelings of calm and prevent you burning out.
Plan Out Your Day
One way to beat stress and worry at work is to plan out your day so you know exactly what needs to be done and when. We can often find that when we have many tasks to complete or a big project to work on that we can feel overwhelmed by everything we need to get done. By writing down precise tasks and times we can plan the day or week efficiently and calm our worries.
Create Realistic Goals
As well as planning out your time, creating realistic goals for yourself can help to create focus and provide motivational pressure without going over the top. Working towards your own daily or weekly goal gives you something to aim for, but because it’s a personal goal it isn’t a huge failure if you don’t meet one of your targets. Creating goals that are realistic is important so that you feel they’re achievable and will be proud when they’re completed. Unrealistic goals can do the opposite and put you under more strain.
Deep breathing is scientifically proven to promote calmness, reduce stress and even reduce pain, so a few minutes of deep breaths at the most stressful part of the day will go a long way to combating feelings of stress. Take 5 minutes to breath in deeply through your nose and then exhale through your mouth for a few seconds more. A longer exhale than inhale is the key to getting the most benefit from deep breathing.
Make Sure To Get Enough Sleep
If you don’t get enough sleep you can wake up tired and grumpy, which sets you off on the wrong foot for the whole day. Even if you have work to do late into the evening or when you get home, make sure you know when to call it a night. Finishing earlier, getting a good nights rest and then waking earlier in the morning to finish things off is much more beneficial than working through the night and having a short, low quality sleep.
Think Positive, Encouraging Thoughts
While we can often be our own harshest critic, its important to mentally encourage yourself, especially if you’re struggling before a meeting or presentation. Self belief and mental visualisation are the secrets of any great champion, whether its in the sport or business worlds, so use these to help your confidence at work.
Squeeze Your Stress Out
Using a stress ball helps to narrow any nervous or stressed behaviours into a single action that can focus the mind and allow the feelings to be squeezed away. By squeezing the ball the tensions are focused to one arm, where the continual tensing and relaxing of the muscles helps to relax the body overall. Stress balls can come in all shapes and sizes, and there are small puzzles and other objects like worry beads which will keep your hands busy and your mind off the stress.
Have The Confidence To Say No
Taking on more work than you can cope with and agreeing to things that will be difficult to deliver is one of the main reasons you can feel under pressure and over worked. Having the confidence to say ‘no’ when your mind is telling you that you already have enough to do may make you unpopular at first, but it will give you some control over your work. Over time you’ll be able to find the best balance between the things you agree to and the things you can deliver so that you’ll know exactly what you can and can’t cope with.
Sit Up Straight
Sitting up straight is not only good for your posture and your back muscles but it can also relieve stress too. This is because sitting up makes us feel confident, alert and important which goes a long way to helping us feeler calmer inside. Hunching over a keyboard or phone has been proven to increase levels of stress and make people feel trapped, so sitting up straight and stretching out will have multiple benefits at work.
Avoid Distractions and Interruptions
Distractions in the workplace can lead us to procrastinate and lose time, meaning we have less time to focus on work which can result in stress and panic. In a similar vein, interruptions can also derail us, making us abandon the task in hand and return to find we had no idea what we were doing. Keeping a steady workflow and train of thought can enable us to get things done quicker as well as avoiding getting irritated at a work colleague or the person on the end of the phone. Stay focused while you’re working, but take regular breaks and let your mind wander just during those times.
Take Time To Recharge and Unwind
One of the reasons we can feel so stressed outside of work as well as during work hours is that it can be hard to set mental boundaries for the things that worry us. Making time for yourself outside of work will help to relieve your nerves, allowing you to calm down and focus on something else. This can be as simple as watching your favourite TV show when you get home, having a long hot bath, or planning a fun activity for the weekend. Taking up hobbies and getting involved in your interests will also give your mind something to think about outside of work. This will help you to have something to look forward to, to feel like you have time for yourself, and to leave your worries at the door.