Wednesday, 2 May 2012

6 tips to help you cope with stress at work

Are you feeling stressed at work? And are you taking that stress home with you at night?
Stress in the workplace is a problem common to most people at some point in their working lives. We've compiled a short list of 6 things you can do to help reduce your stress levels. Following these simple steps should help you cope with stress in the workplace, and allow you to go home at night free from work-related aches and pains.
1. Breathing exercises can help you reduce stress. If you know you're entering a potentially stressful situation, such as making a particularly difficult or lengthy phone call or attending a meeting with your boss, try taking a few deep breaths before you move forward. It may sound silly, but practising simple breathing exercises before a stressful situation can make a big difference to how you cope with the issues at hand.
2. Eat sitting down, and not at your desk or in your workplace. Lunch time is a brief period in your working day where you can take some time out to, even if it's only for a brief period of time. When you intend to eat lunch try to give yourself some time away from your desk, even if it's only 10 minutes. This will allow your mind to wander to more pleasant thoughts, and you'll come back to work refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day's tasks. Focus on relaxing and enjoying the free time you do have, rather than trying to cram work and lunch in at the same time.
3. On the drive or walk to work, listen to some upbeat music that you enjoy. It's important that you start the day on the right note, and whilst it may not seem like much at all simply listening to a catchy song that you enjoy can make you feel more energetic and ready for whatever the day may throw at you. 
4. On the drive or walk home after work, listen to something relaxing. Obviously the same sentiment is true. You may be going home to do the washing, or cleaning, or to look after the kids, but it's important that you get a brief unwind time after leaving the office. Simply listening to something relaxing can remove the frantic thoughts and feelings that your work-day may have left in your mind even after leaving the office.
5. Take some time every day to reflect on the days difficulties, failures, successes, and anything else you think is important.  Some days may feel like they've been the worst days in history, but it's rare that we have a day where nothing positive at all happens, even if it's something really simple like finding some change on the floor, or having a perfect cup of coffee. Reflect on these days, but reflect on them honestly; you'll often find that things aren't nearly as stressful as you first thought.
6. Avoid wine before bed. Whilst this may seem a little silly (we all love a glass of wine after a hard days graft) wine is perhaps the biggest enemy you have in your drinks cabinet. It may feel like it allows you to sleep better, and feel better, but in both cases the opposite is true. Wine disrupts your sleep, which will obviously lead to greater stress not just at work but in every area of your life. Having a glass of wine every now and then is perfectly fine, but stop drinking at least 4 hours before you go to bed.


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