Look After Yourself Physically
When you are physically fit and well, it is much easier to cope with stress.
When you become stressed, it is harder to motivate yourself to care about what you eat, or whether you exercise. However, not doing so can also make you more stressed. Get into good habits while your stress levels are fairly low, and you may find that they never go up again. These good habits include:
Taking regular exercise
Stressful situations increase the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body.
These are the fight or flight hormones that evolution has hard-wired into our brains and which are designed to protect us from immediate bodily harm when we are under threat. However, stress in the modern age is rarely remedied by a fight or flight response. Physical exercise can be used as a surrogate to metabolise the excessive stress hormones and restore your body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state.
Try to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine on a regular basis, either before or after work, or at lunchtime. Regular physical activity will also improve the quality of your sleep.
You can assess your levels of daytime sleepiness with the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
Accept The Things You Can’t Change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.
“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”
Spend Time With Your Pet
Having a pet may help reduce stress and improve your mood.
When you cuddle or touch your pet, your body releases oxytocin a hormone thats linked to positive mood .
Plus, studies show that pet owners especially those who have dogs tend to have greater life satisfaction, better self-esteem, reduced levels of loneliness and anxiety, and more positive moods .
Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active, and providing companionship.
Although stress is an unavoidable part of life, being chronically stressed takes a toll on your physical and mental health.
Fortunately, several evidence-based strategies can help you reduce stress and improve your overall psychological well-being.
Exercise, mindfulness, spending time with a pet, minimizing screen time, and getting outside more often are all effective methods.
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Check Out Your Impatience Quotient
Patience is a gift and a virtue. Impatience drives fear, worry, anxiety and misunderstanding. Opportunities for having patience are readily available on a daily basis. You may be waiting on a response from someone. Traffic is slow. Impatience causes snap, automatic responses of judgment. Your reaction is an emotional response you bypass your wisdom to be present in the situation with knowledge on how to approach it with skill and confidence. I could write a book on aspects of impatience. Being patient is something that I have worked on and found incredibly valuable. Transforming your nature from impatience to patience is doable.
Books For Stress Management
- The Stress-Proof Brain. Learn how to master your emotional response using mindfulness and neuroplasticity.
- The Relaxation and Stress Workbook. Get a bunch of exercises, practices, and techniques for overcoming stress.
- Burnout. A great book for understanding the science behind what leads us to burnout and how to recover.
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How To Balance Parenting And Work Stresshow To Balance Parenting And Work Stress
Balancing Parenting and Work Stress: A Guide 1 Use your leading professional strengths. Whatever skills and traits have made you successful… 2 Work differently. Invest significant time in training and mentoring a junior colleague so they can… 3 Manage the village. If it takes a village to raise a child, your job is to build and manage…
Start With Your Organizations Leadership Structure
Workloads aside, stress in the workplace trickles down from decisions at the top.
As part of your organizations leadership, you must continuously work to monitor employee stress levels and address any harmful emotional states.
Your leadership and managerial teams can control stress in the workplace by:
- Leading by example in every aspect of the business. This includes managing your own stress in a healthy way.
- Regularly communicating in a transparent manner to all employees about job performance, job responsibilities, company health, company goals and reiterating the company vision.
When employees feel reassured, know how their efforts fit into the big picture, have a sense of control over their work duties, and understand how the company is doing and what the short- and long-term goals are, work takes on a higher meaning and stress levels are reduced.
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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.
How To Help Your Employees Reduce Stress & Increase Total Well
In just six weeks, your workforce can experience reduced stress levels and have the tools needed to control future feelings of stress.
Through Stress Free Now – an online, six-week program by Cleveland Clinic | Bravo that teaches clinically proven relaxation techniques to help employees reduce and control their feelings of stress – your employees can reduce perceived stress and increase their levels of mindfulness, psychological well-being, vitality and quality of life.
Learn more about Stress Free Now and lets talk about how we can help you build a stronger, healthier, stress-free culture:
Need actionable steps to take right now as you learn more about our Stress Free Now program? Find five strategies for managing stress in the workplace below that complement this program.
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What Are The Financial And Health Impacts Of Stress In The Workplace
- Regardless of job title, responsibilities or industry, 80% of workers feel stress on the job.3
- Studies conducted by the CDCs National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health have reported that upwards of 40 percent of American professionals are extremely stressed at work.2
- Additionally, according to the American Psychological Association, more than a third of American professionals deal with chronic work stress.
- Stress in the workplace is costing businesses and organizations billions of dollars a year in medical bills and lost work hours.1
Of course, its more than financial consequences. The effects of job stress on physical and mental health can prove to be the real crux in organizations today. Take a look:
Establish Different Work Spaces In The Office
In conjunction with flextime, transforming the office to include spaces where employees can go to work or relax when they need a break from their desk can aid in reducing stress in the workplace.
- For individuals who need an extra quiet place to think or meditate, consider developing a quiet space in your office.
- For individuals who need a fun, upbeat space to get their creative juices flowing, consider creating a creative lounge or patio.
- For individuals who just need to take a few minutes to unplug and perhaps catch up with a colleague, consider creating a comfortable relaxation space.
These different spaces not only encourage occasional, advantageous breaks which are necessary to reduce stress but they can also boost productivity and help employees sustain a more positive mental state.
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Leadership Strategies For Managing Stress In The Workplace
A Wrike survey found that94% of workers experience some level of stress at work, ranging from low to unsustainably high. What is the role of leadership, specifically human resources and people leaders, in mitigating its effects on the workplace? This comprehensive framework outlines actionable steps as well as organizational goals to work toward.
In this guide, we’ll share:
- Conflict resolution best practices: When conflicts inevitably arise, its up to managers to smooth things over.
- What flexible work can look like: In a hybrid environment, flexible work goes beyond the option to work from home.
Offer A Flexible Work Environment
An inexpensive and wildly successful option to help employees reduce stress in the workplace is to offer flextime. Todays workforce has certainly evolved from the very standard and restrictive 9-to-5. Most professionals today thrive on flexibility and the power to get work done when and where they feel most creative and productive.
Your workforce is probably chock-full of morning mavens and night owls. Your workforce probably also has a good mix of young professionals, parents, and tenured businessmen and women.
Bottom line, everyone flourishes on their own schedule, and flextime will strip the one-size-fits-all business demands and give everyone the freedom to choose their work hours and improve their work-life balance.
Your flextime plan can even include a no-work time period, when employees dont have to feel obligated to answer calls or emails.
Additionally, since flextime is highly sought after by many professionals, your organization will benefit from a boost in attracting and retaining top talent.
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Learn To Recognise The Signs That You Are Becoming Stressed
There are a wide range of possible signs and symptoms that may be associated with stress. These include headaches, stomach upsets and indigestion, and sleep problems. Many people also find they become very emotional and have trouble regulating their emotions.
Unfortunately, most of these signs are fairly non-specific: that is, they may be associated with many different illnesses and conditions. It can therefore be hard to identify when your symptoms are the result of stress. You should always consult a doctor if these symptoms last any length of time.
It is a good idea to learn to recognise the signs that you are becoming stressed, so that you can take action early on.
There is more about this in our page on What is Stress?
Simple Strategies For Managing Stress
High stress levels, fatigue and emotional overwhelm are in abundance these days. On the downside, these things affect our mood, skin quality, our digestion, and our bodies. On the upside, there is a lot we can do to manage stress and overwhelm and increase the vitality of our skin and body overall.
When we are stresseda blanket term I am going to use to describe here anxious, overwhelmed, tired, cranky and irritablewe increase stress-related hormones. These have a domino effect in that they disrupt our mood, our sleep, our digestion and they attract more stress hormones. In turn, we become like little mice in a spinning wheel of stress. To exit this spinning wheel, there are some really simple, implementable tools you can use to boost your mood, sleep and digestion.
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Embrace The Adrenaline And Treat It As Positive
Fortunately, there is evidence that some level of stress is actually helpful, and can improve performanceprovided you believe that this is the case.
Elite athletes, for example, often believe that adrenaline, one of the main stress hormones, is helpful in improving performance. It is, after all, the flight or fight hormone, so you can harness it to help you to fight. Changing your mindset to embrace adrenaline can be a good start to changing how you view stress, especially if you have taken steps to reduce and avoid it more generally.
More on Stress Management:
What Is Stress Management A Definition
Put simply, stress management is:
âset of techniques and programs intended to help people deal more effectively with stress in their lives by analysing the specific stressors and taking positive actions to minimize their effectsâ
Popular examples of stress management include meditation, yoga, and exercise. Weâll explore these in detail, with a range of different approaches to ensure that thereâs something that works for everyone.
First, letâs set one thing straight: weâre not aiming towards being stress-free all of the time. Thatâs unrealistic. After all, itâs an unavoidable human response that we all experience from time to timeâand itâs not all bad either.
However, we can all benefit from identifying our stress and managing it better. Before we dive any deeper into managing stress, letâs cover a quick 101 on stress itself.
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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 .
Learn To Avoid Procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and avoid procrastinating.
Procrastination may harm your productivity and leave you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality .
A study in 140 medical students in China linked procrastination to increased stress levels. The study also associated procrastination and delayed stress reactions with more negative parenting styles, including punishment and rejection .
If you find yourself procrastinating regularly, it may be helpful to get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.
Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time. Switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful in itself.
If you find yourself regularly procrastinating, staying on top of your to-do list may help ward off related stress.
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Which Is The Most Effective Technique Of Coping With Stress
Learn to relax purposeful relaxation, such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation and meditation is essential in training your body to relax. Relaxation should be a part of your daily regimen. Be active regularly being active also helps your body more easily fight stress because it is fit.
Prevention Of Workplace Stress
The prevention of workplace stress is most successful when a combination of both organizational change and individual stress management is used. That is, like any healthy relationship, both parties â the employee and the employer make an effort.
What can the company do to manage stress?
- Promote leave, rest and breaks
- Encourage exercise and meditation, both within and outside of work hours
- Ensure the workload is in line with workers abilities and resources
- Provide stimulation and opportunities for workers to use skills
- Boost workplace morale by creating opportunities for social interactions
- Clearly set out workers roles and responsibilities
- Encourage participation in decision making that affects individuals roles
- Encourage open communication
- Establish no tolerance policy for workplace discrimination
- Engage an external consultant to suggest a fresh approach to any existing issues
- Create family-friendly policies to encourage work-life balance
- and provide training for workplace stress management.
The figure below summarizes the benefits of workplaces that promote healthy and low-stress environments.
What if you do not have a healthy workplace, and that isnt likely to change any time soon? Luckily, there are ways for individuals to manage their own stress.
Personal strategies for stress management are to:
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Identify The Reason For Stressor
Stress is a response to danger. No danger… no stress! Therefore, in this step you ask yourself: “Why do I see this situation as a danger?” The answer can often be stated in the format “I see this situation as a danger because I don’t have enough ____ to deal with ____.” For example, “I see this situation as dangerous because I don’t have enough money to pay the Visa bill”.
In general, people evaluate a situation as a danger when they think they don’t have enough resources to handle the demands of the situation. Therefore, you need to look at two aspects of the situation: the demands and the resources. If you think you have enough resources to meet the demands, you will be able to handle the situation. You won’t see it as a danger and will not experience stress. However, if you think your resources fall short of what’s needed to handle the situation, you will see danger and experience stress.
How Can You Manage Stress At Work
So, what can you do? One way to reduce stress was to remove the stressor. However, for most of us, we need to work to eat, so we can’t just leave our jobs most of the time. So, what can we do? If you can’t leave your job, you can’t afford to let stress harm your health, then you’ll need to find ways to reduce this job-related stress.
Develop Techniques That Will Help You To Feel In Control Of Your Life
There is plenty of research that suggests that the single factor that causes most stress is feeling out of control.
One way that you can help yourself to avoid stress is to develop techniques to help you solve problems and make decisions more easily.
For example, one problem-solving technique involves writing down the problem and coming up with as many possible solutions as you can. Decide on the good and bad points of each one and select the best solution. Write down each step that you need to take as part of the solution: what will be done, how will it be done, when will it be done, who is involved and where will it take place.
There is more about this and other techniques in our series of pages on Problem-Solving and Decision-Making.