Stress is so prevalent in today’s society that it can hardly be called anything other than a plague. It’s a disease that an alarming percentage of society is afflicted by. Of course, considering the amount of information we’re bombarded with every day, as well the breakneck pace we’re all expected to live by, it’s no wonder that people get a little bit tense.
Out of all of the sources of stress that are the bane of our existence, it appears that work may be the most common. Stress in the workplace is something most of us struggle with in some way, shape, or form, though for the most part, we resign ourselves to a life of quiet suffering. “It’s just the way it’s supposed to be,” we tell ourselves. “It’s work. It’s supposed to be stressful.”
Well, we’re here to tell you that’s not true. Of course, there is some work-related stress that won’t just go away regardless of what you do – and it should stay that way, since a little bit of stress is what sparks productivity! But there are ways in which you can reduce stress to a manageable level. Here are seven tip we find the most useful and reliable.
#1 Put your best foot forward
Starting off with a tip that’s relevant even outside of the workplace, it’s important to start your day right. You’d be surprised with how much stress you can avoid simply by organizing your mornings well. If you make sure that you have time to eat your breakfast, get everything ready on time, leave at an appropriate hour, and just psych yourself up for the day ahead of you, you’re bound to be able to deal with what’s to come at work much easier.
If you’re really struggling to find the time – which might very well be the case if you have kids – consider preparing at least some of the things you have to do the evening before you go to bed. Alternatively, set your alarm a little earlier – you’d be surprised with how relaxing the small hours of the morning when no one will bother you can be!
#2 Be organized
One of the leading reasons for stress in the workplace is a lack of control. If you work in a chaotic environment, with your responsibilities constantly changing at a whim, it may be the cause of more than a headache in the long run. That’s why taking control is key. Of course, there’s only so much you can do to influence the whims of your superiors (more on that later), but there are things you can take control of right now that will make your work much more bearable.
Plan ahead – set up a schedule for your tasks. See which are top priority and which can wait a bit and make sure you take them on in a logical sequence. Use markers, spreadsheets – anything that will help you contain the chaos better. See if there’s anything you can do to learn how to send a fax online ahead of time. If you can, make sure you delegate tasks to others so that you have a little more breathing room. Lastly, take a look at your desk – is it well organized? Do you have everything you need handy with no distractions? A controlled environment begets actual control, so go on! Organize your desk, and your workflow is bound to improve as well.
#3 Keep yourself comfortable
Speaking of organizing your desk, did you know that discomfort can be a big factor in reducing your ability to focus? This, in turn, increases stress. It’s in your best interest, then, to make sure that you are sitting comfortably at all times. If you’re working a full-time job, it is the responsibility of your superiors to make sure you have a chair that offers support in all the right places, as well as a keyboard and mouse pad with padding, so you can avoid ailments like carpal tunnel syndrome. If you’re self-employed though, you’re on your own – don’t skimp on office furniture. Not only will you be less stressed, but you’ll also stay healthier for longer.
#4 Stretch your legs
Sitting down all day is killer for your back, your legs – the whole package, really. It also makes you more stressed out. What you want to do to combat that is to make sure you take regular breaks. Not just any break will do, though – you need to make sure you spend that time moving around, preferably outdoors, where the sun can run its course and supplant you with some very beneficial vitamin D. You’d be surprised how much of a difference that can make for your mental well-being.
#5 Eat well
As tempting as it might be to start your day at work with a cup of coffee, it’s actually best to avoid caffeinated drinks if you want to avoid stress. In general, sticking to a healthy diet can come a long way in making you feel more relaxed and in control of your life. Avoid sugars and get some more omega-3 fatty acids in you, eat more fruit and veggies and you’re bound to see results pretty quickly. You might lose some weight along the way, too, which is an added bonus!
We’ve mentioned that instability at work is one of the most prevalent sources of stress. The thing is, in most cases this is not done out of malice, as professional life can get pretty rapid, leading to your superiors having to change their plans and tactics on the fly. The best course of action is to talk to them about how it affects you – perhaps something can be done to take the load off your shoulders.
It might also be the case that the main source of stress for you are your poor relationships with your coworkers. We all know office politics can be quite catty and gossipy at times, which can be very stress-inducing. The best course of action in this case is to find the coworkers you can talk to and focus on fostering good friendships with them. A companion can come a long way in making the workplace feel less hostile.
#7 Leave work matters behind as you finish
Lastly, we have the most important tip of all – don’t take your work home with you. This also applies to freelancers who work from home, though admittedly, that is a bit harder to do. This is, of course, all easier said and done, since in particularly stressful situations, it might be hard to separate yourself from that office mental space just as you finish. What helps in those cases is following some kind of ritual to help you draw a clear line between your work life and your private life. Whether it’s twirling your keys around exactly three times or hanging your coat on a designated hanger, this is a simple trick that can help you mentally get away from all the stress.