A Gallup survey revealed that 55% of Americans reported experiencing a lot of stress in a single day. Another study that focused only on workplace stress found that a whopping 80% of Americans experienced stress at work. Overall, these numbers are huge and suggest that we as a society need to learn how to handle stress.
Long working hours, job uncertainties, tight deadlines, and the ever-increasing demands and expectations from a pushy boss can leave one feeling overwhelmed and stressed. If not addressed in time, workplace stress can start affecting your body and mind leading to a host of health problems.
There are some subtle signs to pick up if you are stressed. They are:
· You feel irritable and tired
· You are always tense
· You’re not able to concentrate
· You’re worried
· You lose interest at work
· You feel restless
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then it’s time to destress.
If workplace stress is interfering with your work performance and personal life, then it’s time to take action. Read on to learn about some simple ways you can try out to reduce stress at work and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Practice Deep Breathing
All of us carry within ourselves an important tool that can instantly lift our mood and make us stress-free. It is our breath.
Yes, you heard it right – your breath.
Research shows that deep breathing is an effective stress-buster. Deep breathing forces us to concentrate on our breathing, thus helping our mind removing itself from any negative thoughts or emotions.
Deep breathing supplies fresh oxygen to the lungs and brain. Apart from releasing toxins and tension from the body it also relaxes the body and the mind.
For practicing deep breathing, you do not need any special aids. Just take out some me-time for yourself and start the process. Try not to get distracted and remember to keep the focus on your breath.
Inhale deeply and imagine the air filling your lungs and stomach. Count till four seconds and then breathe out slowly. Visualize the air flowing through every pore of your body and rejuvenating it. Pause for a while and then repeat the process again. Try this at least four times or until you feel a little more relaxed.
Declutter Your Work Area
Do you have an overflowing cabinet or stacks of files lying on your desk?
If yes, then take the time to tidy them up because maybe your cluttered desk could be the reason for your stress.
Science reveals that our brain loves things to be in order and constant visual distractions can reduce our ability to focus. A neat and tidy desk equals to a decluttered mind. By decluttering your desk, you will not only get rid of any unwanted things on your desk but also declutter your mind leading to increased focus and better productivity.
How about taking some inspiration from Marie Kondo?
Regularly cleaning your desk instead of letting things accumulate can prevent clutter. Neatly arrange your paperwork and pack up the things you don’t need. Also, clean your desktop on your computer at intervals. Most of us have a habit of storing too many documents on our computers. We don’t realize that it can contribute to stress, too.
Deleting unnecessary documents or sorting them into manageable folders can lessen the clutter both in our computer and our minds.
Switch off Your Computer
Continuously working at your computer terminal can also spike your stress levels. A super - easy way to de-stress while working is to turn off your monitor for a while and take a break.
Go for a coffee break and have a chat with your co-workers. It will help you take your mind off stressful thoughts. The break will rejuvenate you and you will be able to approach your work with more confidence.
Another thing you can do when the stress gets to you is to practice creative visualization. Switch off your computer and imagine about something that makes you happy – it could be your family or even that dream holiday you had been eagerly looking forward to. You will feel more relaxed after the exercise and will then be able to approach your work with ease.
Talk to a colleague
At times talking to a colleague and having someone to listen to you is all the therapy you need. Sharing your worries and talking about it with your colleagues is a very effective way of reducing stress and regaining your sense of calm. Your colleagues don’t have to solve your problems; all they need to do is listen to you. It is therefore important that you have a strong support system at work so each one of you can act as a pillar of strength for each other.
Journaling or writing your thoughts is another superb way to reduce stress. Writing about your anxieties and troubles will help you identify your stressors and allow you to work on a plan that can reduce your stress. Writing is therapeutic. When you write down about something you are expressing your emotion regarding it. Once your feelings are on paper you will feel relaxed as you have found an outlet for your stressful thoughts. Writing also helps you identify the stressors enabling you to getting rid of them easily.
Steps employers can take to help reduce stress
Employers and companies also have a moral responsibility to see that their employees work in a happy frame of mind. They should monitor their employees and look out for work-related stress in their lives. After all, it is in their interests, as a stressed employee cannot contribute to the company in a whole-hearted manner.
Some ways by which employers can reduce stress in their employees are:
Communication is the key — Communicating with employees on a one-on-one basis is the key. Employees feel cared-for and valued in the company when their employer focuses on their problems and tries to address it.
Allow remote work — Giving employees the option to work from home when they have the need to is a signal that you trust them. It boosts their morale.
Promote Workplace Wellness — Employers should encourage employees to take regular breaks between work. Time off from work will allow them to approach their work with a fresh mind and increase productivity.
Look after their health — Linking up with a local health center that offers free medical check-ups is also a wonderful way to show an employee you care for them and are concerned about their health and well-being.
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