Stress is the silent killer of many people in the workforce. Research shows that stressful jobs decrease life expectancy. Physical signs of stress that people experience, like upset stomach and headaches, create an unhealthy way of living. We need to reduce stress.
So, how do you reduce stress? You can’t. Stress will come and go throughout life, like the common saying, “There’s always a rainbow after a storm.” It’s what you do with the “stress storm” that can make it easier to handle.Self-care and work productivity are two areas where everyone can use some redirection. We know too much stress isn't good for us, but how you handle it can make your mind and body feel better. Click To Tweet
Wake Up and Check In with YOU
Beep — your alarm goes off, you’re up, barely awake, grab a shower, a cup of coffee and off to work you go. You’re not alone. We are a society that is constantly going but never checking in with ourselves.
Take a couple of minutes in the morning to:
- Take a few cleansing breathes in the morning
- Grab a large glass of water before a cup of coffee.
Use Food As Fuel
It’s common to reach for those comfort foods when you feel lousy. The term, “eating your feelings” is true because stress makes your brain reach for the ice cream, pizza, and burgers over healthy foods. Think of your food like fuel for your body. You only get one body, treat it well with foods like
- Complex carbohydrates
Your to-do list is a mile long, your child has a game, or you just are too tired to workout. We have all been there. Make it a priority to take a walk for at least 30 minutes a day, even if it’s 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night. Regular exercise has shown to improve mood and takes your mind off stressful thoughts, thereby reducing stress.
Write It Down and Get Organized
Work and home can stress you out, but you can reduce stress by writing down tasks and ideas can help you remember so you don’t become a leaky bucket of thoughts.
- Start by having a blank piece of paper and do a brain dump of all the thoughts and things you need to do. Keep a blank notes app nearby for when you have an idea, so you don’t forget it later.
- Separate those thoughts and ideas into personal and work-related columns
- Pick three top to-dos to get done that day, and that’s it!
A helpful tip? Start with the most dreaded task to get it out of the way when your brain is fresh.
- Before you start, stop. Look back on the list, ask yourself, “are these tasks meaningful to me or can I take them off the list?” If the tasks are not helping you succeed, remove them from your list.
Set Work Boundaries and Minimize Distractions
Set boundaries and decrease distractions to avoid burnout. You can do this in several ways.
- Stop emailing and texting so much – Pick up the phone and call people. It shortens the conversations that continue to go back and forth with email and text.
- Turn off notifications – A study done in Germany showed distractions made people more stressed because they feel the need to answer or respond.
- Set office hours – If you tend to overwork, you tend to have increased stress. Have office hours. Tell yourself you won’t work past a certain hour at night. This will help to separate work and family life too.
Checking in with yourself, using food as fuel, and exercising your body and self-care tasks are often ignored, but critical to reducing stress. Getting yourself organized at work by setting work boundaries and minimizing distractions will help you sail through your “stress storm” in a way that will make your body and mind feel less stressed and more productive.