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Beat Stress at Work

28 March 2017

We all get stressed out from time to time. Here are some great tips to stop it getting on top of you.

  1. Schedule your day
    If you know ahead of time exactly what you need to get done in any given day, it can help restore a sense of organisation and calm.Many people find lists a satisfyingly simple way to organise their tasks, and nothing can beat the feeling of ticking off those to-dos once completed. When writing up your to-do list, make sure to include the tasks you’re not so keen on starting. It can be best to start your day with something more challenging, as after you have completed something tricky or taxing, you can relax a little more, knowing that the tasks you need to do after that will be plain sailing. But, starting with something too stressful can be detrimental to productivity, so make sure to gauge how you’re feeling that day and work from there. Watch the list reduce and finish your work day with a sense of achievement. Be sure to include and make time for any family time or evening social engagements on your schedule as a reminder that it’s not all about work and to restore a sense of balance to your day.
  2. Take a break
    If it’s getting a bit much, take a quick break. Go for a five-minute walk, get some air and change your environment for a while. Dragging yourself away for a few minutes might seem like a waste of time if you’re busy and under pressure, but the break could help you refocus and get more done in the long-run. 
  3. Don’t eat at your desk
    Everybody does it. Some people don’t even stop working while they eat. This comfort eating is not only messy (nobody wants a keyboard full of crumbs) but can also be bad for your health. This mindless eating that is now a daily ritual for many of us is being linked to the rising obesity crisis. Even if you’re eating the healthiest salad, packed to the brim with superfoods, eating while you work does not allow you to properly enjoy your food. If you’re feeling stressed, lunch is the perfect time to take a break, especially if you really can’t stop at any other time. Stop, move away from the work, change your environment for a few minutes, maybe socialise with co-workers. Use the opportunity to take a proper mental break from your work.
  4. Learn to say no
    Don’t be your own worst enemy by accepting too much work that’s needed too soon. Be realistic about what you can get done, and if you honestly don’t think it can be done, say so. Your co-workers will respect your decision to focus on your current workload much more than being let down by you at the last minute because you had too much work on your plate.
  5. Prioritise
    Some things are very important, and other aren’t. Identify which is which, and prioritise your time accordingly.
  6. Find the exact cause of the stress so you can address it
    Is it the workload? Co-workers? Office politics? Whatever is causing the stress, it needs to be identified so you can deal with it. 
  7. Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms
    6 Red Bulls, 5 double espressos and a packet of cigarettes aren’t really going to make you feel any better now, are they? It may feel like they are helping, but sugary foods and cigarettes only give the illusion of helping, and the effects don’t last for very long. Instead, try to work on some healthier coping mechanisms, such as mindfulness meditation, or even just focusing on your breathing. Anyone can easily access resources to help begin practising mindfulness – there are plenty of apps on the app store, for example. Take the time for yourself to start a healthy habit that will help you to look after yourself long term, and also help to keep your body and your mind healthy. 
  8. Speak to your boss
    Maybe you are under too much pressure. It may be that your workload is just to heavy. Explain how much time each of your tasks require and ask if there is anyone else available to pick up a little slack, or if there can be an extension on any overwhelming deadlines hanging over you. 
  9. I am the boss
    Oh dear. Try to delegate some of your workload. Some bosses and small business owners have a tendency to “hang on” to too much work. If you’ve got staff, use them where possible.
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