These simple, easy suggestions will help you reduce the physical and mental stress in any job. Some might actually seem too simple, and you might reject the ideas but we advise you to give them a chance. You might have to remind yourself to take a deep breath or to leave your work area for a few minutes, but you will reap the benefits if you do. It takes 21 days to create a new habit; why not try these techniques for 21 days then see if you have a better outlook and feel less stress out.
1) Take breaks. Yes, we know: Your job is hectic and never-ending. Still, take your breaks. Eat lunch away from your desk. If possible, eat your lunch outside. Leave the office. Take a walk around your building. You’ll be amazed – truly – at how much more energy you’ll have when you get away from work for a bit.
2) Take deep breaths. Sure, it’s a cliché. But it is so for a reason. Taking deep breaths, counting to 10 before responding, just sitting still for a few moments can do a HUGE amount of de-stressing. Just try it once or twice and see the results.
3) In addition to taking your morning, lunch and afternoon breaks, see if you can take a short break every 30 to 45 minutes. Just a quick trip to the bathroom, for example. Or to get a drink of water. Just get up and move for one or two minutes.
4) Consider placing a radio with calm music (not pop, definitely not rap or rock) playing at or near your work station. Classical music is best; it can be very soothing.
5) Exercise before or after work. If that’s legitimately impossible, walk for 30 minutes at lunch. Exercise is a proven stress reliever. It will make you better able to withstand stress and will help keep your joints and muscles supple. Simple walking is fine. Jogging is OK. Dance classes, cycling – whatever you enjoy and gets you moving.
6) Stay hydrated. Drink water. Drink some more water. Go easy on the coffee and caffeine-filled sodas.
7) Get a good night’s sleep. Just like exercise, medical science has proven that lack of sleep can cause all manner of ills, not the least of which is the fact that tired people don’t handle stress that well. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
8) Try not to access personal email and texts while at work. Sure, you want to stay in touch with family in case of emergency. But how many real emergencies are there in any given day, week, month or even year. Don’t check your personal email (you have enough email at work), don’t look at or reply to text messages. If someone really needs to get a hold of you, an “old-fashioned” voice call on the phone will work.
9) Dealing with unhappy people can be the largest stressor in your job. Understand that angry people usually just want someone to hear them. Try to listen to what the person is saying and then calmly repeat, in your own words, heard to show that you understand the person’s complaint. Apologize sincerely and offer a solution. If the solution isn’t to the person’s liking, politely ask what solutions he or she may suggest. The main thing is to show that you respect his or her anger/stress and that you will work to find a solution.
What are some of the things you’ve done to help cope with stress at work? What tips would you offer others?
If your job is causing you more stress than it’s worth, please Register with PSG and we will work to help find you a job that you love.