How To Beat Work-Related Stress
Aha!! Work-related stress symptoms? Is that a trick question? Is your job stressing your out? Stress is our body’s survival mechanism, helping to make us more alert and energized in dangerous situations.
Unfortunately, we’ve evolved to experience stress in many situations that aren’t dangerous at all – many of which can be work-related.
Too much of this ‘pent-up emotion’ can be draining on our body causing constantly tensed muscles, high blood pressure and lack of sleep from constant alertness.
In the long run, chronic stress can have a serious negative impact on our health – it’s believed to be a leading cause of strokes and heart disease and it has strong links with nervous system diseases and cancers.
It’s possible that factors other than work could be causing stress in your life. However, eliminating stress from your work life could be a good place to start. There are so many ways in which you can relieve stress caused by work. Here are few great stress-busting methods to consider.
Work-related Stress Tips
Get organized at work
Too much clutter and disorganization in our lives can be a trigger. Work on trying to make your work-life more organized whether it’s changing your morning routine so that you’re always on time, decluttering your desk or coming up with a filing system to finally keep on top of your emails.
Being more organized will make you feel more in control, which will stop stress, plus it will make you more productive.
Get more sleep
Lack of sleep and stress form a vicious cycle. When you don’t sleep, you’re more likely to get stressed. Meanwhile, stress makes you constantly alert – making it harder to get to sleep.
Consider going to bed early and adding de-stressing activities to your bedtime routine in order to sleep better and break the cycle. De-stressing activities to try before bed could include reading, listening to music or having a hot bath.
Physical activity is also a great stress buster. If your job is largely sedentary, consider ways of incorporating more exercise into your day whether it’s making a purpose to get up from your desk every hour for five minutes or planning a short HIIT workout for your lunch break.
If you commute by car or public transport, you may even be able to find ways of incorporating walking or cycling in order to get your exercise in them.
Kick the caffeine
Caffeine and stress produce many of the same effects. This is because they both produce a hormone called cortisol – the hormone that makes you alert and jittery. Caffeine on top of stress is not a good combination and could just make you feel more anxious and overwhelmed.
Try drinking less coffee/energy drinks and try drinking more water, which will improve concentration without making you feel overly sensitive.
Many people use smoking as a form of stress relief at work – however it can have the opposite effect and can increase stress. Whilst nicotine can provide a temporary high that makes you feel relaxed, withdrawal symptoms can quickly kick in and combine with stress to make you feel even more agitated.
Smokers tend to have much higher levels of cortisol, however this can greatly decrease within weeks of quitting.
Listen to music
If you have the ability to listen to music at work, this could be a great form of stress relief. Ideally, it needs to be music you enjoy – if the office’s communal radio isn’t doing it for you, consider having your own stress-busting personal playlist at the ready that you can listen to on headphones.
Meditation can be a great way to relieve stress by clearing your mind of negative thoughts and focusing on the bigger picture. By taking yourself out of the situation and allowing the mind to relax, you may realize that the things stressing you out weren’t really all that serious after all.
Meditation may only require a spare five minutes – it could be something you do on your lunch break. For maximum effectiveness, take yourself out of the office. The bathroom, your car or a local park could be great places to meditate. Close your eyes if you can and focus on controlling breathing and you could soon feel your body relaxing.
Talk to your boss
It could be worth talking to your boss if you’re experiencing major work-related stress. It’s possible the trigger of your stress may be a difficult customer or a difficult colleague – you may need your boss to step in and do something about it if you feel it’s gotten beyond your control.
Alternatively, you could simply feel overwhelmed with the workload and may need your boss to understand this if you feel they’ve been giving you too much to do.
Take a break
A well-earned break could be what you need to de-stress and gain perspective. Consider booking a minimum of a week’s holiday and try not to think of work at all.
If the dread of going back to work is constantly on your mind, it could be a sign that you need to quit. If everything you were stressed about now seems petty, it could be a sign that you ought to stay.
Switch to a less stressful job
A drastic option could be to switch jobs or even switch career paths. Whilst your current job may come with benefits such as better pay or a certain level of prestige, these aren’t worth the damage that stress could be causing to your health.
If there’s no way of reducing stress triggers at work, you may simply have to accept that this job is not for you.
Try seeing a therapist
A therapist may be able to offer further methods of relieving work-related stress. Don’t be afraid to talk to one of these professionals if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes just talking to someone can be a huge stress relief.
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