How to alleviate workplace stress with these 8 simple steps
Is it possible to sail through the day, get all your work done and still maintain that work life balance and clock off at 5.30 pm?
I recently came across a Forbes article titled 12 Ways To Eliminate Stress At Work. The fundamental message was to avoid being consumed by stress. Here are useful extracts from the article which may just be the answer:
Actions and reactions
We experience stress when we feel that situations are out of our control. We fear the unexpected and when feeling incapable of managing a situation, stress builds up and our confidence in our ability drops to an all-time low. In reality, we can’t predict the future. What we can control is how we handle the situation. Make sure you are in control of your actions and responses and focus on how best to act on the situation rather than let the circumstances get to you.
Most of us face numerous interruptions throughout the day. Our emails, phone calls, drop ins, last minute meetings, chat messages and looming deadlines that you had completely forgotten about. While you may not have control over the interruptions, you can control your response and how quickly you get back focused on the task at hand. You need to assess the importance, prioritise what needs to be done and allow windows for you to focus on all the other aspects.
Take a lunch break
Most of us push ourselves to keep going with the workload with the view of getting things done quicker. We are all under the illusion if we work straight the full eight to ten hours, we’ll get more done. Without a breather productivity goes down, stress levels go up and you have very little energy left over for the end of the day including home time. This can be overcome by doing something simple like taking a lunch break.
Get out of the office, stretch your legs, get some fresh air and a bite to eat and you will be much more productive on your return. Tony Schwartz, CEO of the Energy Project has shown that if we have intense concentration for about 90 minutes, followed by a brief period of recovery, we can clear the build-up of stress and rejuvenate ourselves.
Eat well and sleep well
Eating badly will stress your system, slow down your brain function and make you feel groggy, not to mind deteriorate your confidence when those few extra pounds appear. In turn, when you’re not sleeping well you’re not getting the rejuvenating effects of a good night's rest. Sleep is a critical recovery period for anyone from the age of 1 to 100. If racing thoughts keep you from falling asleep or you wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep this will play its toll on your work and personal life. Eat well and often, read a book and avoid work emails, phones and stressing about work before you go to sleep.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the workload is getting too much and the deadlines too many, a few minutes of deep breathing will restore your sanity. Simply inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale again for five. Remember it’s only a bad day not a bad life!
Change your perspective
“Your perspective of stressful office events is typically a subjective interpretation of the facts, often seen through the filter of your own self-doubt”, according to business psychologist Sharon Melnick. However, if you can step back and take a more objective view, you’ll be more effective and less likely to take things personally and let them stress you out.
Forget about what other people think
Majority of our stress is self-inflicted. We over think things in our head, we think of everybody’s expectations of what we should or shouldn’t be doing and we take our eye off the ball! If you’re too caught up in other people’s perceptions of you, which you can’t control, you become stressed out by the small things. If you focus on what you need to do, and do it well, you will impress others with your success.
Prioritise your day
Last but not least is stress management in its simplest form. With competing deadlines and fast-changing priorities, it’s very important for us to define what takes priority and what takes the back seat. Make a to-do list every evening before you go home, update it constantly throughout the day, set aside windows in your diary for to have-to-do's and eat your biggest frog first thing in the morning.
All of this will help avoid any unnecessary stress and your head will be in a much better space.