Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people, especially when it comes to a high pressured working environment.
Whilst you may not be able to avoid these feelings completely, there are lots of different things you can do to help reduce your stress levels and relieve anxiety at work.
From daily exercise to learning to say no, the power to reduce your stress levels is in your hands. Here are ten methods to try.
Listen to Soothing Music
Music has a relaxing effect on the body which helps to lower your heart rate or blood pressure. If you have the opportunity to listen to music while you work, try listening to your favourite tracks or the albums that soothe you. Podcasts are another fantastic way to rest your busy mind on a commute or lunch break. Here are four good ones to get you started.
Giving your mind something else to focus on (rather than the stresses of work) is a great way to relieve anxiety.
When you’re feeling stressed or anxious it’s easy to lose control of everything around you, causing a spiralling effect. You may find that you lose track of meetings, miss a couple of deadlines or start making small mistakes, all stuff you should be in control of.
It may seem impossible to regain control again, but learning to prioritise, writing everything down and regularly checking back on your to-do list is a great way to start. As is learning to say no (see below).
Exercise On A Daily Basis
Taking the time to work out either before or after a hard day at the office is a chance to help reduce your stress and anxiety levels. Incorporate some stretches while at your desk to relieve neck tension and speak to your boss about perhaps getting a standing desk.
It’s proven that exercise can release positive endorphins so the more you do, the better you’re likely to feel. Here are six ways you can work exercise and nutrition into your work day to increase your energy levels.
Make Time For You
With most of your time spent at work, it’s important to make time for yourself. Whether you work a 9-5, late nights or you’re in a part-time job – me time is essential. Some of the best ways to ‘make time for you’ include having a hot bubble bath, taking a nice evening stroll, baking something fun, relaxing with a good book or enjoying a movie and snacks.
If you’re a parent, then me-time can be hard to find, but there are ways to sneak it in, like on your commute home or after the kids have gone to bed.
Get In Touch With Your Local Doctor
If you’re really struggling and find that none of the tips mentioned here help to improve your mood at work, it may be worth visiting your local general practice or day surgery to find out whether it is something they can help with.
Whether you need to speak to a counsellor or get medical guidance on dealing with anxiety, your doctor is in the best place to start. If you’re feeling nervous about speaking to someone, you could even ask a trusted friend to go with you.
Learn To Say No
Although it may feel like you have to say yes to everything at work, in most cases you don’t. Figuring out what it’s ok to say no to, without impacting your career, is an important life lesson and can help to reduce the pressure you put on yourself.
Whether it’s taking on extra work, attending an event or going out for a drink after you finish work – you’re not obliged to say yes if you don’t want to. If it’s going to take time away from things that are more important to you, or are higher up on your to-do list, don’t do it.
Connect With New People
Seeing the same people day in and day out can sometimes be a drain, especially if you’re working a full-time job. Make the time to try new activities outside of work so that you’re meeting new and interesting people.
If you don’t have the time to try something new, try to make time for friends and family, a sure-fire way to unwind.
Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
It’s easy to overindulge in caffeine when you need the energy to work 8 to 10 hours a day, but it’s proven that caffeine increases your stress and anxiety levels.
Try cutting down on the number of cups of coffee you’re drinking each day by replacing every other cup with a glass of water instead – often you’ll find you don’t need the caffeine, but instead just something to keep you hydrated.
If you want that coffee taste you could even switch out one or two of your daily cups for decaffeinated coffee, meaning you won’t feel like you’re missing out.
Practising mindfulness means finding activities that encourage you to be present in the moment, helping you combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking. There are several different methods for increasing how mindful you are, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga and meditation.
Sometimes even smaller things such as taking a relaxing bath, reading a book or doing something creative can help you feel much more mindful. Here are 3 apps that will help.
Avoid Unhealthy Habits Where Possible
If you have any unhealthy habits (such as smoking, drinking too much coffee or binge drinking on weekends) try to avoid them where possible. If you can’t avoid them completely, try to be mindful of how much you are consuming and cut them down over time.
If you’re ever feeling stressed or anxious at work it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Following the tips above can help reduce these feelings, but if you are feeling overwhelmed then make sure you speak to a professional and don’t be afraid to get help.
Have you ever felt stressed at work? How did you cope? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments below.