Nearly everyone has experienced stress at some point, dealing with the consequences of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. Work-related stress is a serious matter, affecting more than one-third of Americans on a chronic level. Fortunately, there are many ways you can relieve work-related stress, and we have 8 easy steps you can follow to do so.
1. Start with Breathing
Breathing is a natural built-in stress reliever. It can have a profound impact on our physiology, with several studies having shown that it affects the brain, heart, digestion, and immune system. When we’re under stress, our breathing patterns fall out of sync. This is why it is best to remember to take deep breaths before and during stressful events.
Deep breathing releases tension and clears your head and is also a good way to start your day in the morning. As you wake up, take some deep breaths ‒ there are plenty of breathing exercises you can do ‒ and perhaps even open a window and get some fresh air.
2. Simplify Your Day
Sometimes we overload ourselves with tasks and responsibilities, often putting unnecessary weight on our shoulders. You can feel overwhelmed just by looking at a long list of things to do.
This is why you should simplify your day, bringing more focus and less stress to the fold. If you have a list of things to do, circle the most important tasks and plan your day accordingly. As you move through your list, completing tasks and crossing them off, you feel confident and motivated to go on. Use a planner to aid you, rather than relying on memory and overburdening yourself with unimportant things.
3. Think Positive!
“Think positive” is a common saying in our society but it’s easier said than done. You can start by not worrying about things beyond your control. Ask yourself if what you’re worried about will matter in the long run. If it won’t matter in 5 years’ time, don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it. Realizing this will change your whole mood and perspective.
It’s important to stay in a positive mind state because allowing stress to get to you may induce negative actions and habits such as drinking, which would end up causing you more stress.
4. Clean Your Workspace
One way to reduce work-related stress is to get organized and increase efficiency, and this can be done by simply cleaning your workspace. In as little as 10 minutes you can transform your work area and thus work more efficiently.
A messy desk can represent a cluttered mind and this doesn’t make a good impression on others, causing them to question your effectiveness and leadership. A messy workspace can also create more problems and stress through adverse scenarios such as spilling a drink, knocking down something heavy, or having to look for an important document under a pile of other stuff.
Make a habit of taking a few minutes to clean your workspace at the end of every workday. This will make the start of your next day at work much easier and more organized. Make the same effort at home, especially when it comes to the placement of your important belongings.
5. Seek Social Support
Working crazy hours can cause us to detach ourselves from our relationships. But our relationships can be a valuable asset to our emotional health. This is why we should seek social support and share problems and concerns with others rather than keeping things to ourselves and holding a burden. Talk to friends, relatives, colleagues, or even do some research online to find others who may be in the same situation as you.
There are message boards and other sites where people can anonymously discuss such matters and relate to others. Virtual venting is easy and can be rewarding but be careful about how much detail you are willing to reveal. Once you publish a blog or social media post, there’s no going back.
6. Bubble Baths
A nice, steamy, bubble bath can soothe the body and restore the mind. Water helps wash away your stress, worries, and fears, providing relaxation and various health benefits. Hot baths raise the heart rate and temperature, also allowing your body to get rid of toxins. Blood pressure lowers, pain is relieved, and circulation increases.
These are important when it comes to stress, which has serious physiological effects that could negatively affect your health. Bath time should be quiet time, so leave your devices and gadgets in the other room and dim the lighting so you can relax. A glass of wine and some candles can enhance the experience as well, creating a spa environment that lifts your spirits.
7. Books and Movies
Reading is an activity that you can do anywhere. Plus, it takes you into other worlds through imagination, helping you take your mind off of work and stressful circumstances. Not everyone is an avid reader that has the attention span and focus to read through novels, so it may be best to start with short stories.
Schedule at least 15 minutes a day for reading and experience the benefits. Movies have a similar effect, and can often be easier than reading. Watch something light and funny to get some laughter in and brighten your day.
8. Yoga and Meditation
Meditation is a practice with widely known benefits. You can do several short sessions throughout the day rather than one long meditation session. Just mindfully breathing and remaining calm can go a long way. Yoga also has positive effects on the mind and body, including improved memory and focus.
You will quickly notice how practicing one or both of these ancient traditions will release the strain on parts of your body that are most affected by the sedentary lifestyle (eyes, neck, shoulders, back, metabolism) while at the same time relieving all the mental stress that builds up throughout the week.
Work-related stress is serious but it is definitely something you can handle and reduce through good practices. Some important steps to reducing stress in your life include taking deep breaths, staying positive, and seeking social support. Don’t allow stress to overcome you and strain your career and daily life. Take action now, and follow some or all of these steps on a daily basis and you’ll see significant improvement.