Stress is a productivity killer! It can drastically affect work attention, quality, satisfaction, interpersonal relationships, and even your health. That’s why when you are stressed out at work—that stress causes a decrease in work engagement, productivity, and even in work presence (i.e., missed days from work due to physical and stress-related illness). Instead, focus on making work the healthiest place it can be, by making connections with team mates, making healthy changes to your desk or chair for added comfort and back support. Small changes can really make all the difference.
The following 10 steps can help you reduce stress in the workplace and create a healthier, more satisfying work environment:
1. Recognize signs of stress
When you feel your heart rate is rising and the stress setting it—step back, realize what’s happening and walk away. It takes a pretty insightful person to know their body and mind well enough to recognize the signs of stress. However, the best thing you can do when the stress thermometer rises (for yourself and everyone involved) is to excuse yourself and take 10 minutes to clear your head. Reacting under pressure was never beneficial to anyone because you are not thinking clearly. So take a short walk, go outside for 5 minutes for some fresh air, go get a glass of water and return to work when things have simmered down.
2. Don’t be afraid to say no
Frequently, many of us take on more work than we can handle. In some ways we create the stress by taking on too much. So remedy this by setting boundaries—be aware of what you can handle and say no when your plate is too full.
3. Keep the lines of communication open
Make a point to meet with key members of your team or your manager mid-week, every week. This practice will keep the lines of communication open and help to reduce stress due to miscommunication and disorganization. It will also help establish a bond of trust and camaraderie between you and those you work with.
4. Do something active to break up the day
Arrange a walking group at lunch, walk or riding your bike to work, take the stairs instead of elevator, take a lunchtime yoga class, or walk to a restaurant with a friend.
5. Cut the caffeine
I know a morning coffee is a ritual in most offices, but 5 cups all day long doesn’t help your stress levels. Caffeine in soda, coffee, caffeinated teas, cigarettes, and sweets can rev up your heart rate and create even more undue stress.
6. Organize a coworker activity
I’m sure your boss will support an activity that creates bonds between your work team and promotes healthy activity. Actually, exercise relieves stress levels more than anything else—so ask your manager if you can organize a work aerobics class, yoga class, indoor mountain climbing day, golf tourney, or sports team (i.e., baseball, soccer, volleyball, etc.) to encourage fitness in the workplace.
7. Build a supportive foundation
Stress is often heavier if we deal with it alone and isolated. Instead, build a good support network of colleagues, friends and family who you can talk to about your work troubles and who can help you see things in a positive way.
8. Don’t resort to unhealthy eating to cope with stress
Comfort foods—like chips, pizza, sweets, or alcohol, smoking and drugs won’t help you cope with stress—they just mask the situation temporarily and provide a false means of escape. Instead of using avoidance-type behaviors to deal with stress, seek out healthy exercise and human connection to cope.
9. Look for the positives
When I’m having a tough time at work, I always take time to remember what I’m grateful for. I keep a small photo album of family and friends to look through whenever stress sets in.
10. Accept that you can’t control everything
At some point you have to stand back and recognize you can’t change everything. Once you accept that and concentrate on what you do have control over, life will be a lot less stressful.
About The Author
Gina M Casillo is a staff writer for Serenity Living Stores, your choice place to buy an Eames chair. She enjoys writing about home décor—especially when it comes to the spaces she’s most intimate with