Work-related stress can affect an employee’s ability to deliver, as well as limit their creativity. Stress is often associated with a feeling of overwhelm, caused by too many tasks and high expectations from supervisors. Follow these ten simple steps to reduce stress while you work…
1) Take breaks. There will always be another phone call, e-mail, or colleague you have to answer to. Technology has created a demand of always being available, which can be very stressful. This makes it important to remember to log off every once in a while. Take a break! Make yourself unavailable for 5-10 minutes at a time. Stretch your legs, enjoy the view from a window, and get some fresh air. Breaks are essential for being able to concentrate during long hours at the office.
2) Remember to eat. When we get hungry we loose our ability to concentrate which can lead to mistakes and stressful situations. Our efficiency decreases and our mood worsens when hungry. Therefore, it is very important to remember to eat regularly during the day. If you know you are going to have long meetings on a certain day, plan to bring snacks. Healthy foods such as nuts, dried fruits and rice cakes have better influence on both concentration and brain capacity than junk food.
3) Relax your shoulders. You may not realize your shoulders are tense, but try to release them down away from your ears. Make this a routine. Every time you finish a task at work, send an e-mail, or hang up the phone, role your shoulders back a couple of times to release any tension.
4) Hit the gym. Studies have shown that working out twice a week improves concentration and energy levels. Exercising the body will allow you to tolerate heavy workloads better, and also make you more productive. So make sure to set aside a few hours every week for the gym, and you will see improvements in both your health and career!
5) Get enough sleep. Go to sleep and wake up at approximately the same time each day. The number of hours required may vary from one person to another, however, working full-time combined with family and hobbies requires at least six hours of sleep each night. A good night’s sleep will make you more relaxed and focused during the work day.
6) Stay positive. Spend your free time with people that make you happy or doing things that you are passionate about. When things get tough at work, remember that most things in life are only temporary. Stay calm, make a plan, and think positive thoughts.
7) Organize. Keep a schedule on your phone or a place where you will always be able to access it. Write down due dates, meetings and other plans in a notebook or planner. Organize your documents so they are easy to look through when needed.
8) Prepare. Prepare for upcoming work. Stress is often caused when we find ourselves in unexpected situations. Preparation reduces the chances of being caught off guard, and if a situation does surprise you, you will be ready to handle it.
9) Work as a team. Make sure to communicate your deadlines and ideas with teammates. This way, everyone understands what is required of them and you reduce stress for yourself and those around you. Send out reminders far ahead of time so that deadlines don’t come as a surprise. If there are any mishaps along the way, don’t get upset. Stay relaxed and explain to your team how you can improve next time.
10) Delegate. When you have too much on your plate, don’t hesitate to take advantage of services available. Outsource desk work that you would typically spend hours on. This will allow you to focus on the knowledge work and business development you were hired for. Your desk work is guaranteed to be finished on or before deadline, and since it is completed by professionals, the work will be of high quality.