Consider Your Preference For Recovery Activity
I used to partake in my partners hobby during my free time so that we could spend quality time together. Then I realized I dreaded going to guitar lessons. Now, we do our own hobbies: I do my gardening while my partner learns guitar, and we carve out time to spend together afterwards.
Although having a choice over your recovery activity sounds like common sense, this experience, described by the CFO of a global events company, highlights the challenges of applying this principle. Perhaps youve felt pressured into going to a group exercise class, or maybe your company organized a group wellness activity during the weekend when you really just wanted to be at home with your family.
Not having a choice in your own recovery can sometimes do more harm than good. For example, one study showed that when workers wanted to sit with coworkers and chat over the lunch break, it boosted their stress recovery. On the other hand, when workers were less keen about socializing over lunch but did so anyway , they found their energy highly depleted at the end of the day. The same pattern of depletion was also identified for working lunches. For most people, working over lunch is draining. Yet, if you personally choose to stay in a productive workflow during lunchtime , there can be recovery benefits. Just keep in mind that relaxing is an important recovery activity that affords benefits , even when its not your most preferred lunch break activity.
Cut Out Things That Add To Your Stress
Sometimes, the best way to reduce your stress is to cut something out of your life. Get rid of the things that are adding to your stress so you can experience more peace.
Watching the news, being constantly connected to your digital devices, drinking alcohol, and consuming too much caffeine are just a few of the things that may add more stress to your life. Making some changes to your daily habits could be instrumental in helping you feel better.
Stress On The Job: 4 Tips For Working Women
Jennifer Haythornthwaite, M.A., Ph.D.
Emails that arrive day and night, a travel schedule that interferes withfamily life, the age-old struggle with work-life balance data from theAmerican Psychological Association show that 65 percent of Americans citework as a top source of stress. It can happen, even if you usually loveyour job.
Women in particular face a unique set of challenges at work due to issues like childcare and interpersonal relationships, explains Johns Hopkins psychologist Jennifer Haythornthwaite, Ph.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Mind-Body Research .
Stress happens when theres an imbalance between the demands of a situation and a persons resources for managing it, says Haythornthwaite.
Think of the brain as stress central, she says. Its responsible for organizing the stress response that happens throughout your body.
Read Also: How To Stress Someone Out
Common Sources Of Work Stress
Certain factors tend to go hand-in-hand with work-related stress. Some common workplace stressors are:
- Low salaries
- Few opportunities for growth or advancement
- Work that isnt engaging or challenging
- Lack of social support
- Not having enough control over job-related decisions
- Conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations
Drink Alcohol In Moderation And Avoid Nicotine
Alcohol temporarily reduces anxiety and worry, but too much of it can cause anxiety when it subsides. Drinking to reduce stress at work can ultimately lead to alcohol abuse and dependence.
Similarly, smoking may have a calming effect when you feel stressed and overwhelmed, but nicotine is a powerful stimulant – leading to higher, not lower, anxiety levels.
Read Also: How To Limit Stress In Your Life
Take Care Of Your Physical Health
One of the most important things you can do for your physical and mental health is exercise and eat well. Although it may seem like a lot of work, the payoff is worth it. Exercise can release endorphins that make you feel good and help manage stress, depression and anxiety.
Eating well means eating food that will nourish your body and provide you with all the minerals and vitamins your body needs to deal with a stressful work environment. Looking after your physical health is vital for your well-being. The benefits are numerous, including increased energy, improved moods, reduced pain, better sleep quality and much more.
You may think that physical health has nothing to do with your mental health, but this is not the case. Your physical health can have a significant impact on your mental wellbeing. If you are not taking care of your body, then you are likely not taking care of your mind.
Physical health plays a significant role in determining a person’s quality of life. Studies have shown that a person who has good physical fitness and good mental health is more likely to be successful in the workplace and in other areas of their life.
Find Ways To Stay Calm
When you’re feeling stressed, practice deep breathing exercises . These flood your body with oxygen, slowing your heart rate, relaxing your muscles, and helping you to focus.
You might also want to practice yoga or meditation after work both are effective methods of managing stress.
Frequent daily breaks and regular vacations are also important for reducing work stress. Even a long weekend can help you to de-stress after a tough week. When you do take a break or go on vacation, leave work behind. Constantly checking your emails and messages won’t give you the time that you need to rest and recharge.
Also Check: How To Stop Yourself From Stressing
Address Conflict Without Adding To It
Conflicts are going to happen at any job â whether itâs between coworkers or managers, itâs inevitable. What you do with that conflict, though, determines if itâll be a stress point or not.
- Donât let conflict continue. Ifthereâs a fight between employees, or you are an employee and are butting heads with someone else, it needs to be addressed. Use conflict management solutions outlined in the employee handbook. Ignoring conflict doesnât make it go away. It makes it get bigger.
- Avoid punitive responses. Punishment, instead of reward, creates fear, which creates stress. Resolve conflicts and problems positively, and not through negative reinforcement.
Tip : Make Time For Fun And Relaxation
Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by carving out me time. Dont get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, youll be in a better place to handle lifes stressors.
Set aside leisure time. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule. Dont allow other obligations to encroach. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.
Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be stargazing, playing the piano, or working on your bike.
Keep your sense of humor. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways.
Take up a relaxation practice. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the bodys relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the fight or flight or mobilization stress response. As you learn and practice these techniques, your stress levels will decrease and your mind and body will become calm and centered.
Form Positive Relationships As Much As You Can
Some people start a job with a chip on their shoulder, and seem to set out to make everyone there miserable. Whether youâre starting a new job, or make it a goal for new employees who start where you work, build a better foundation than that.
Not everyone is outgoing or makes friendships easily. And no one is asking you to make your co-workers your best friends. But you can set out to be positive towards others, avoiding negativity as much as is in your control.
- Be a good listener.
- Be sincere but generous in complimenting someone elseâs work.
- Help someone who needs it.
- Be willing to teach or mentor someone with less experience than you.
- Avoid gossiping or speaking negatively about anyone else on the job.
- If conflict or problems have to be addressed, use positive language and avoid accusations or painting someone in a negative light.
Provide Onsite Or Distance Counseling
Many companies have also begun providing counseling as a way for employees to help deal with stress in a recent study, almost half of workers felt they needed help in learning how to handle the stresses of their jobs. This strategyin or out of the office, in group settings or individuallycan help employees prepare for what stress will come their way.
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Vicious Versus Virtuous Stress Thinking
Stress is a choice, yet it is often perpetuated by negative cycles of thinking .
It doesnt have to be this way.
Using a cognitive-behavioral approach, it is possible to reframe unhelpful beliefs and thinking, and adopt a virtuous cycle of thinking.
The Vicious Versus Virtuous Stress Thinking worksheet helps you compare unhelpful and helpful thinking regarding an event .
Keep Perfectionism In Check
Being a high achiever might make you feel good about yourself and help you excel at work, but being a perfectionist can create problems for you .
You might not be able to do everything perfectly, every timeespecially in a busy, fast-paced job. A good strategy to avoid the perfectionism trap is always striving to just do your best and making time to congratulate yourself on your efforts. You may find that your results are better and youll be much less stressed at work.
Read Also: What Are Some Symptoms Of Stress
Nine Ways Mindfulness Helps With Stress
Best Ways To Manage Stress
Meditation can trigger the antidote to stress, called the relaxation response.
Goal setting and relaxation techniques reduce stress and ease the physical and emotional burdenit can take.
Stressful experiences come in many forms, such as a demanding job, a chronic disease, or an argument with a loved one. But all types of stressorseven stress from positive experiences,such as planning a partycan result in the same physical and emotional burden on health, especially when you’re an older adult. “As we age, our immune systems are less efficient, and adding stress to that can lead to disease progression or the onset of disease,” says Dr. Ann Webster, a health psychologist at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Also Check: How To Stop Emotional Stress
Tip : Break Bad Habits That Contribute To Workplace Stress
Many of us make job stress worse with negative thoughts and behavior. If you can turn these self-defeating habits around, youll find employer-imposed stress easier to handle.
Resist perfectionism. When you set unrealistic goals for yourself, youre setting yourself up to fall short. Aim to do your best no one can ask for more than that.
Flip your negative thinking. If you focus on the downside of every situation and interaction, youll find yourself drained of energy and motivation. Try to think positively about your work, avoid negative co-workers, and pat yourself on the back about small accomplishments, even if no one else does.
Dont try to control the uncontrollable. Many things at work are beyond our control, particularly the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control, such as the way you choose to react to problems.
Look for humor in the situation. When used appropriately, humor is a great way to relieve stress in the workplace. When you or those around you start taking work too seriously, find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or funny story.
Clean up your act. If your desk or work space is a mess, file and throw away the clutter just knowing where everything is can save time and cut stress.
What Are Stressful Situations
Stressful situations will look different for each person. What one person may be able to handle with little or no stress, someone else may experience a lot of stress over. And, you may experience stress over big life-changing events in your life or over small everyday problems.
Large situations that could cause stress in your life could include things like:
- The death of a loved one
- Moving to a new area
- Switching jobs
- Getting divorced
Many people understand that large situations like that often come with stress. However, these same people may struggle to identify the source of stress in their own life. If you feel like you shouldnt have stress because youre not living through a large situation like one listed above, its important to give yourself a break.
Many things can cause stress in life. And, even small stresses can turn into chronic stress if not addressed. Some of the smaller causes of stress in life include things like:
- Living paycheck to paycheck
- Working long hours
- Fighting with a spouse or significant other
Many things can arise daily that can lead to stress. This is why it can be helpful to learn tips on how to handle stressful situations even if you dont feel like you need it at the moment. You never know when life is going to change, and youre going to face something unexpected.
Tips On How To Handle Stressful Situations
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Shape Your Environment For Optimal Recovery
One underrated, critical element of recovery is your surrounding environment. Some companies have caught on and are building direct and indirect exposure to natural elements into the workplace. Indeed, research on direct exposure to nature, such as through park walks during workday lunch breaks, shows that it can enhance your recovery from stress in as little as 10 minutes. In addition to short-term effects, being exposed to nature at work contributes positively to your well-being and lowers the likelihood of burnout. Exposure to daylight and having a window view or indoor greenery at the workplace have been shown to have a positive impact on your sleep quality, perceived stress, and overall health. Interestingly, indirect exposure to nature can also have benefits for recovery. In a nutshell, getting some nature into your workplace makes you more happy and energized at work.
No need to book a trip to the mountains. You can try to stay connected to nature while at work by using any outdoor facilities your employer provides , opening windows regularly to bring in fresh air, taking short walks in a nearby park during your micro-breaks, and even suggesting outdoor walking meetings when possible. If all else fails, try to get some exposure through nature photography or videos.
How To Deal With Stress Caused By Working From Home
Routine and structure. For many people, these are two major keys to success in the professional world. Consistent schedules and deadlines, regular rules, and clear organization keep work on track and make coworkers, customers, and bosses happy.
These days, work-from-home arrangementsmade more common by the COVID-19 pandemichave made it harder and harder for professionals to maintain routines and structure. Disruption of the office working experience can cause ongoing stress for many people, especially for those that have shifted to working from home.
Theres no doubt that the biggest stress for professionals working from home is change in routine and structure, according to Christopher M. Palmer, MD, director of the Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education at McLean Hospital.
Whenever peoples routines change significantly or expectations change, it stresses people. Thats the way our bodies work.
Challenges facing professionals working from home include reliance on technologies, like teleconferencing and Zoom. In addition to the stress some experience from having to learn new skills, the virtual communication reduces much-needed personal contact and can contribute to anxiety and depression.
Other challenges include spending the entire working day at home with spouses, children, or aging parents. Working in a house full of people means more distractions and disruptions. Also, many workers feel they are less productive, which leads to stress.
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