Work can cause a lot of stress. We all know it, and it's something we all live with. But, we have the option of creating more manageable working conditions for ourselves. From keeping a consistent amount of energy through the day to making time to relax, there's plenty you can do to reduce stress at work.
Photo by Fotolia/nyul
1. Prevent Stress Early
Start your day right. Wake up with natural light if you can. Try to get as much outdoor time in as you can before you start work. Taking a walk can help clear your mind and prepare you for the day. If you're lucky enough to live a reasonable walking distance from work, start walking or cycling to work. The movement will get your blood flow and metabolism going, increasing your energy throughout the day.
2. Caffeine Alternatives
Lots of people love their coffee as a way to wake up in the morning. Coffee activates the brain's adrenal glands, however, this makes you more susceptible to stress. If you really need that energy boost, try one of the many alternatives available. These work great for many high stress situations which require lots of energy. For example, Maryville nursing school students have been known to try alternatives like ginseng tea or apple slices to get a healthier boost of energy while working.
Panax ginseng, gingko biloba, green tea, maca, mate, chai and ashwagandha can all give you an energy and blood flow boost without putting you into overdrive. You may also find drinks with some of these ingredients and a small amount of caffeine, which can offer the perfect solution for people who want a different source of energy but don't want to cut off caffeine completely.
3. Eat Well
Eating well before work and during your lunch break can have a huge impact on how you feel throughout the day, making it another great way to feel better at work. Make sure you eat a nutritious meal without too much sugar or heavy fats weighing you down. Some studies suggest this can bring about better decision-making while at work as well.
In addition to eating well, drink lots of water to stay hydrated throughout the day. It's even a good idea to drink water first before you head for a caffeinated or caffeine-alternative beverage, just to make sure water can't solve your problem first (which it often can).
4. Use Relaxation Techniques
You can use a few different methods to relax at work, but most involve some sort of meditation. Probably the most effective of all is to simply stop and breathe for a minute. Deep breathing meditation can change your whole mood. You can try putting your hands on your chest and stomach to help feel your breath and calm you down.
You can also try mindfulness meditation, where you try to simply just be in the moment. This requires a distraction-free environment, though, which you may not have access to during your work hours. If you do, you should use it any time you feel overwhelmed. Make sure you're in a comfortable position and focus on observing. Even at work, this technique can quite powerfully transform your day.
5. Manage Work Time Effectively
Time management can greatly improve your work time. Do you have flexibility about when you take your lunch? Experiment with different times and see how each makes you feel. Do you have to work in the same spot every day? If you have any choice on that end, try working in different spots on different days or during different times to give yourself a break from the same setting. Also, try to find something you enjoy doing at work. It's alright to take 5 minutes to read or do something you enjoy if you need to give your mind a rest.
Work doesn't have to feel like a complete grind every single day. Sure, you should try your best and put in your energy, but you don't want your occupation to suck the life from you. Take some time out for yourself and feel good while you work.
Miles Young is a freelance writer, designer and outdoorsman. He’s worked as a roof contractor and part-time engine mechanic. He spends his free time fishing and tinkering in his garage. You can follow him on Twitter @MrMilesYoung.