Coping with stress at work
In today’s society everybody is busy. In fact, many people equate being busy and stressed with success. This belief has dangerous consequences though, and if we continue to ignore stress, and even glorify it – we can damage our mental and physical health.
Stress contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune disease – so ignoring the problem can be deadly. If work is a big source of your stress, the following tips can help you regain control and de-stress.
De-stress your body
Many of us engage our stress response more often than our relaxation response, leaving us feeling fatigued and depressed. Stress is a physical and hormonal reaction, which means we can use our bodies to interrupt this response.
- Avoid processed foods – These can make us feel anxious and are best avoided. Stick to fresh, whole foods as this will help nourish your body and better prepare it for whatever gets thrown at you at work.
- Exercise regularly – Making time for some exercise on a regular basis will release feel-good, stress-relieving chemicals. Go for a walk on your lunch if you’re having a stressful day or even do some simple yoga poses.
- Get enough sleep – Stress can become magnified when we’re sleep deprived. Try to get eight hours of sleep and if you’re suffering from insomnia, get some professional help.
De-stress your mind
The next area to consider is your mind. Stress typically comes from ourselves – our thoughts and our reactions to certain situations. If we can relax and calm the mind, we will be better equipped to deal with stress.
- Cultivate gratitude – When you’ve had a bad day at work, it can be easy to fall into a negative pattern of thinking. One way to overcome this is by thinking about everything you’re grateful for – try writing it in a journal after work.
- Practise relaxation techniques – Meditation, mindfulness or other relaxation techniques can help to lower blood pressure and help you control your reaction to stress.
- Learn to say ‘no’ – Be polite but firm and say no when you’re overworked and overcommitted. This is one of the greatest stress-relieving acts you can do and you’ll feel an incredible amount of freedom.
Regain your sense of purpose
Ignoring your sense of purpose and stifling your true nature is bound to make you feel more stressed. Try to regain your sense of purpose by doing the following:
- Enjoy social time – Connect with your friends and family to remind yourself what’s truly important. Ban all work talk and switch off your phone.
- Get creative – Even if you’re not that creative, spending time doing a hobby you love will help you de-stress. Whether it’s cooking, painting or playing the piano – get lost in an activity you enjoy.
- Think about the bigger picture – It’s easy to get sucked into your own problems sometimes, so it can be refreshing to sit back and think about the bigger picture. If you are spiritual, connecting with this can be very beneficial too.
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