What can you do to avoid stress at work ?Abhishek Sharma
There is no job in the world that comes without its share of stressful situations and for many people knowing how to avoid stress at work has become an important question. Surveys conducted recently show that more than 65% of people are suffering from stress at the workplace today. For those who work in high pressure jobs, the words work and stress go hand in hand. So when does stress become a cause of concern? Scientists say that although a little bit of stress is actually healthy because it motivates you and makes you more productive, a lot of stress can contribute to chronic issues like hypertension and depression. The good news is that you don’t have to stress yourself over this. There are several scientifically backed ways and de-stressing techniques that can help you avoid stress at work before they turn into something bigger. To commemorate the Stress Awareness Month of April, we present to you 10 different ways of combating with stress at your workplace.
Take a break and walk a little
If you sit for long hours at your work desk without a break then your productivity and health are likely to be affected. When your productivity goes down, your stress levels go up so it’s better to step away from your desk after a few hours and take a short walk to refresh your body and mind. If it is possible to go outside it is much better because fresh air and sunlight are natural cures for reducing stress build up. Even if you walk a short distance inside your office, it will release the tension buildup from your muscles and boost production of endorphins, which are known to reduce stress hormones. A sedentary lifestyle is already bad enough for your health and added stress makes it a killer. So it’s highly recommended that you force yourself to walk a little every 2 hours to avoid stress at work.
Meditate and relax.
Meditating during high pressure situations is a great way to avoid stress at work. Research shows that meditation can play an important role in lowering cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone. Sitting at your work desk only you can take out 3 to 5 minutes to meditate and unclutter your mind. You can try some relaxed breathing exercises such as pranayaam and simple stretches to relieve the tension and anxiety. This will sort out any conflicting thoughts enabling you to think more clearly, visualize a problem much better and find out of the box solutions to it.
Change your work environment
You can’t get any bright ideas sitting in a dark, dingy room and it can be tough to avoid stress at work in such conditions. The dull ambiance of a boring workplace can make you feel depressed and stressful. If you have the option of working in an environment that is airy and cheerful you should choose it over a cramped cubicle any day. Several top companies have made it a priority to provide open working spaces for their employees such as gardens etc. which serve as “de-stressing zones”. If you don’t have the luxury of working in a natural setting, try to give your eyes a break by putting up photos, paintings or even a small plant near your desk. This will create visual resting spots for the eyes and reduce strain on the mind too. When you have a conducive place to work, you feel inspired and motivated to perform better and this can be very helpful to avoid stress at work.
Plan ahead, organize and be ready for anything
A day at the office can be overflowing with problems, pressures and deadlines if you don’t eliminate the sources that trigger stress. Know what tasks you can be expected to do at any time and try to prepare for them in advance. Make a note every time you come across an unexpected issue and find ways to prevent it from happening in the future. It can be very hard to avoid stress at work if you can’t cope up with additional responsibilities that you had not planned to handle. You should also try and organize your desk to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the growing piles of files. Just like an uncluttered computer’s desktop, a neatly organized desktop will help you to find things quickly and easily, thereby reducing stress.
Don’t postpone things unless absolutely necessary
Delaying tasks for later and letting them pile up is a recipe for stress and anxiety. If you keep postponing things, the pending items on your to do list will keep distracting you and prevent you from focusing on other tasks as well. Make a timetable assigning a specific number of hours for a single task only and don’t let other things bother you until you finish it. Write down your to-do list on a piece of paper and follow through with commitment that you won’t leave tasks for later. If you want to avoid stress at work, don’t let your mind be burdened by unfinished work.
Divide a big task into smaller parts
Sometimes an assignment or target can appear daunting due to its scale or complexity and you feel stressed instantly. To avoid stress at work you can divide the job into portions of achievable targets or smaller tasks. Upon completion, each such task will motivate you to move ahead to the next one without feeling bogged down by the pressure and tension. Doing this will also give you the bigger picture and how different elements of a job correlate with each other. When you are aware how different parts fit together, you will feel less stressed because you will get a sense of control over things.
Ask for guidance
When you are required to do a task which is exceptionally difficult, it will naturally put you in a state of stress. So if a job seems hard to finish on your own, ask for the right people for guidance on the matter. Don’t hesitate to ask them for help if you are unfamiliar with a new process or project. It could be your coworkers, friends or even your employer who can show you how to avoid stress at work and acquire new skills. Their experience can give you valuable insight into how to finish a task more efficiently so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by it.
Maintain a work life balance
If you are constantly worried about things not going well at home, you will be too stressed to concentrate on work at the office. Make a conscious effort to devote equal time for your family and your work so that tensions don’t overlap with each other.
Listen to some music
Without disturbing anyone, try to listen to some calming sounds such as classical music to help you unwind for a few minutes and avoid stress at work. Research shows that listening to soothing music slows the heart rate, reduces blood pressure and produces feel good neurochemicals like dopamine in the brain.
Crunch a Stress ball
You might be wondering how can a soft squishy ball help you to avoid stress at work? As unbelievable as it may sound, there is scientific proof that shows how stress balls work. When you squeeze a stress ball in anxiety, it ‘shifts’ the stress from the intellectual channel to the primary sensory channels of sights, sound and touch. Your mind shifts its focus from a tension to control the ball crunching activity and this in turn redirects the stress to the hand. If nothing works, you can always throw the ball at the person who is causing you stress.
We don’t really have a choice when it comes to feeling a little bit of stress, it is inevitable. But we do have ways to avoid stress at work before it wreaks havoc on our health and well being. If you follow these techniques and suggestions with an earnest mindset, you will notice that it is not so difficult to manage stress at your workplace after all.