At times, the daily grind pushes us to our limits. The pressure to succeed at work, maintain healthy relationships and simultaneously preserve our health feels unbearable. This feeling of helplessness is far more common than one may think. In fact, according to the 2015 Stress in America ™ survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, nearly two-thirds of adults in America consider work to be the number one stressor in their lives, and that number is projected to increase as technological advances perpetuate a work culture in which employees must constantly be connected.
Since it seems as though there is little hope in escaping the growing trend of high levels of stress in the workplace, it is imperative to have a set of techniques to help manage chronic stress in order to regain control at work and protect yourself from its long-term, damaging effects.
Daily Stress Management Tip 1: Eat Well, Sleep Well
Food, sleep and stress are all inextricably linked. Your food choices and the amount of hours you sleep per night have a major impact on the way you feel at work, and subsequently, your work performance.
Rather than eating three large meals, try eating many small healthy meals to maintain normal blood sugar levels, stay energized and avoid the slump that comes from overeating.
And while refined sugars and carbohydrates can provide quick bursts of energy, they also lead to even quicker crashes in energy and mood. These foods do not provide any healthy nutrients to the body that aid in reducing stress levels and increasing productivity.
It is also important to remember to drink water in order to carry the nutrients from these healthy meals throughout the body. Aim to drink eight glasses of water per day to avoid dehydration and keep stress levels low.
Sleep is just as important as food choices when it comes to managing stress. While stress may lead to sleep troubles and insomnia, not sleeping enough at night can create an imbalance in the body and actually cause more stress. Limit screen time at night to improve the quality of your sleep and aim to get about eight hours of sleep per night. Once you are well-rested, you will be able to approach your work with a clearer, calmer mind.
Daily Stress Management Tip 2: Breathe
Focused breathing techniques and meditative practices are great tools for releasing built up tension in the body caused by stress and improving overall well-being. Taking mindful breaths in through your mouth and out through the nose, while clearing your mind of all negative or stressful thoughts slows down your mind so that you can approach your tasks with sharper focus and increased productivity.
Daily Stress Management Tip 3: Stay Fit
Exercise is a great tool for stress relief. Physical movement releases endorphins to boost your mood and create a feeling of euphoria, combatting the symptoms of stress. Aerobic exercise increases energy levels and overall happiness, while different types of fitness such as yoga and stretching relax the body and the mind, maximizing stress relief. Try to fit 30 minutes of physical activity into your schedule a few times a week to help manage your stress.
Daily Stress Management Tip 4: Take Breaks
Taking regular breaks is beneficial for coping with mental tension. Counter to what many think, short work breaks allow your mind and body to refuel and can actually increase productivity even though you are putting your work on hold. When you take a step back from the chaos of the day, you will reduce stress and actually be able to approach your work with a clear head, greater focus and more creativity.
Daily Stress Management Tip 5: Form Meaningful Work Relationships
Engaging with coworkers is an underrated tool for managing work stress. While you may not be best friends with your colleagues, having a trusted sounding-board is a great way to release tension. Your coworker does not have to fix all of your problems, but having someone to turn to instead of turning to your phone or tablet will help reduce stress because of the direct relationship between isolation and stress. The more isolated you become when feeling overwhelmed, the more stress you will take on inside. Next time you feel tension mounting, talk to a coworker about it and foster that meaningful relationship.
Use these tips to help manage your daily stress and tension, and to learn more about keeping your energy high and stress low check out these related articles: