There have been many research papers that talk about the impact of work-related stress. CDC’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, they found that the number of Americans who are ‘extremely stressed at work’ sits between 29-40%, which is very high.
Sadly, work stress has a significant impact on our health. It can make a small impact like feeling a bit tired and colds, to giving heart disease and chronic stress a foothold. However, because stress is so common now, saying ‘find a low-stress job’ is just not practical.
Instead, unfortunately, it’s more a case of you having to actively take steps to lower your stress levels.
Start Your Day Well
Many people spend the morning rushing around, forget things, and arriving to work hot, sweaty, and already stressed. But if you take steps to arrange your morning the night before you will be much better off. The night before you should set out your outfit for in the morning, pack your bag with everything that you will need, and set your alarm a little bit earlier than you need to - to give yourself time to wake up well.
Make time to have more than three swigs of coffee, eat a piece of fruit if you have time to.
Over time make your wake-ups earlier, so that you have even more time in the morning to relax and start your day.
Set Your Goals
Both in your everyday life and your work life, it will help to have precise requirements. There are very few things as stressful as uncertainty. If you are never sure what exactly is expected of you, you will never be sure that you are performing above or below where you should be. If you never know what you are doing enough, you will always have the burden of worry hanging over.
Talk to your employer about what you should be doing if you are on track and set yourself some goals. Having things clearly labelled helps everyone.
Ditch Any Conflict
Workplace conflict can be horrible. Knowing that each day you are expected to arrive each morning to a place where you aren’t having the best of times is hard. There will always be a certain amount of conflict between colleagues because not everyone will see eye to eye.
For you this will mean you don't join in with the gossip mill, you leave it to pass you by. Keep many of your personal opinions to yourself, because often religion and politics set people on edge, and you’d do well to avoid people in the office who force those subjects.
If there is an issue, then you should head to HR and talk to someone, so that is can be addressed in the proper way.
Listening to music on the way to and from work will help you relax. We typically put music we love on our playlists, and having that to hum along to is really relaxing. Over time, when we hear those songs, it will have the same effect. Because you have trained your brain to relax when you hear that playlist - clever.
If you have the worse chair at work, your shoes are pinching, your eyes are dry from the screen usage, or you know that you need heartburn relief - then take care of it. We spend so many hours at work that if we aren’t looking after our comfort, you are likely to feel your stress levels rising through the day. If you are allowed to bring things to make your space more comfortable for you, or you can relax your outfit a little then do so. Being relaxed will up your productivity too, so it is a win-win for you and your employer.
Holding on to stress long term can be dangerous for you both mentally and physically, so if you can try to work in 10 minutes of meditation into your day, and listen to stress-reducing guided session, you will be avoiding many of the physical signs and reducing your levels.
It can take a little while before you find what type of sessions works for you. For some, it is 10 minutes of breathing with music in the background. For others, they like to be guided through a series of questions, and guided into the breathing style too.
Applications like Calm or Headspace are ideal for people who are just getting into meditation, and they help to improve your sleep too - which aids the stress management you’re trying to achieve.
Find what works for you in terms of stress management, and incorporate it into your life. Collaboration