Every job has its moments of stress. Sometimes a bit of stress can help to provide that boost of energy when we need it most. However, too much stress can often have the opposite effect, draining us of our energy and making us perform worse.
Not only that, but stress can lead to a range of health problems. If you’re constantly stressed, you’re more at risk of developing headaches, gastrointestinal problems, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. It’s also a leading cause of depression and anxiety.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to reduce work-related stress. Below are just a few tips for dealing with stress at work.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
When you haven’t had enough sleep, you’re more prone to stress. It’s the body’s way of helping you to be more alert. Of course, too much stress can then make it harder to get to sleep at night. It’s a vicious cycle that has to be ended.
Try to aim for eight hours of sleep per night. If your job stops you from achieving this, you may want to consider your work-life balance. Unless it’s a one-off event or deadline, there should be no reason to sacrifice sleep. If you’re self-employed or are able to work flexibly, try to come up with a routine that enables you to get a good night’s sleep while still getting the work done.
Make sure you’re getting enough exercise
Exercise is an excellent stress buster. It produces feel-good endorphins that help to flush away the stress-causing hormones. By upping your exercise, you could help to relieve some stress.
People working desk jobs and driving jobs are most likely to benefit from this form of stress relief. By sitting down all day, you could be allowing stress to build up with no release. Going for a brisk walk on your lunch break or even trying some ‘deskercises’ could be just what you need to take away that stress.
Try stress-busting supplements
There are a number of supplements out there that can help to relieve stress. These could be worth trying to help you calm down.
L-theanine is a supplement that is known to create relaxation without inducing drowsiness making it a perfect stress buster for the workplace. The ingredient is found in green and black tea. However, it is most effective in supplement form.
Holy basil (aka Tulsi) is meanwhile effective at reducing stress and improving focus. Tulsi tea is the most common way of consuming this ingredient. There are also supplement pills that contain this ingredient.
You could even try taking CBD edibles for relaxation. There are a number of snacks out there that contain CBD – an anxiety-reducing ingredient found in the cannabis plant that doesn’t produce the high. CBD can also be taken in pill and liquid form.
Give the coffee a break
Many of us drink large amounts of coffee at work. Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant capable of exacerbating stress. As a result, all that coffee could be making you more stressed
Switching to decaf could be an option if you crave the taste of coffee. Alternatively, you could try switching to other non-caffeinated drinks. Herbal teas could be an option if you want something hot, non-caffeinated, and relaxing.
Most people working stressful jobs take up smoking as a form of stress relief. While the nicotine in cigarettes does create an immediate sense of relaxation, the withdrawal symptoms of smoking can heighten stress levels.
Obviously, quitting smoking is a stressful process. However, packing in this addiction could make you a lot calmer in the long run. You can look into ways to quit smoking online.
Try practicing meditation
Meditation is an effective way of relieving stress. It’s a way of simply clearing one’s mind so that you can then focus on the things that are important.
Meditation is best practiced in a quiet and calm environment, which the workplace might not be. However, you may be able to escape to your car or to the bathroom to get five minute alone. Close your eyes, control your breathing and start thinking about the bigger picture. In the grand scheme of things, that work deadline probably isn’t a matter of life or death. There are lots of guides to meditation online that can help you.
Take some time off
Taking time off could also be necessary for recharging your batteries and gaining perspective. If you’ve still got vacation days to take, make sure to take them. If you run your own business, don’t be afraid to close up for a week or get a senior employee to take over.
Make sure that your vacation is spent doing something relaxing and not something stressful. Try to detach yourself from work as much as possible – if you’ve got a work phone, turn it off.
Stress at work is often the result of trying to do too much oneself. By delegating some of this work to other people, you could relieve some of the pressure.
Many of us feel guilty or anxious about delegating, but it can be necessary in many forms of work for getting things done. If all your colleagues are stressed and overworked, it might be a little harder to find someone to say yes, but usually someone will be able to step in, even if it’s to just do a small favour. Even if you have your own solo business, there may be admin tasks that you can outsource such as marketing or accounting to help reduce the burden. Either that, or it could be time to start saying no to new clients.
Stress causes many of us to worry. This worrying only leads to more negative thoughts, which can turn into depression and anxiety.
Get yourself out of this downward spiral by focusing on the potential positives. Instead of focusing on problems, focus on solutions. If people are the problem (either clients or colleagues), focus on working with them to solve your issues or seek out the support of other people in your team. Positivity will help you to stay calm and will help you to beat the mental side of stress.
Talk to your supervisor
If stress is seriously starting to wear you down, consider talking to your supervisor about how you feel. Together, you can try to come to a solution. If you feel overworked, there may be a way of reducing responsibility or simply changing your focus within the team. If you’re having difficulties with clients or colleagues, your supervisor may be able to find a way of distancing you from these people.
What if your supervisor is the problem? In this case, if you feel powerless, you may be able to rally together with colleagues to try and confront the issue. Alternatively, if you feel you have no-one to turn to, it could be time to wave the job goodbye and find a workplace that isn’t as toxic. A career coach may be able to help you in your quest to find a healthier work environment.
Meanwhile, if you are your own supervisor (for instance, if you own your business), don’t be afraid to seek out professional advice from others. Financial advisors may be able to help with debt-related stress, while legal advisors may be able to help you deal with difficult clients causing stress. There’s always someone to talk to – it’s just a case of working out who the right person is to consult.