Are You Over Stressed?

Pretty much anyone who has a job knows what work stress feels like. You can get overwhelmed, upset, overdone, exhausted, and the list goes on. Your duties pile up around you and it can feel like the whole world rides on your work ethic.

But this level of stress adds up to some pretty serious health risks if you don’t handle it properly. Having a job shouldn’t mean compromising your longterm health in the process, so today we’re going to cover some ways to handle your work stress in a healthier way to make your life better, starting right now.

Beat workplace stress by reaching out

Sometimes the best stress-reducer is simply sharing your stress with someone close to you. The act of talking it out and getting support and sympathy—especially face-to-face—can be a highly-effective way of blowing off steam and regaining your sense of calm. The other person doesn’t have to “fix” your problems; they just need to be a good listener.

Tips for cultivating supportive relationships at work and beyond

Turn to co-workers for support. Having a solid support system at work can help buffer you from the negative effects of job stress. Just remember to listen to them and offer support when they are in need as well. If you don’t have a close friend at work, you can take steps to be more social with your coworkers. When you take a break, for example, instead of directing your attention to your smartphone, try engaging your colleagues.

Lean on your friends and family members. As well as increasing social contact at work, having a strong network of supportive friends and family members is extremely important to managing stress in all areas of your life. On the flip side, the lonelier and more isolated you are, the greater your vulnerability to stress.

Build new satisfying friendships. If you don’t feel that you have anyone to turn to—at work or in your free time—it’s never too late to build new friendships. Meet new people with common interests by taking a class or joining a club, or by volunteering your time. As well as being a great way to expand your social network, being helpful to others—especially those who are appreciative—delivers immense pleasure and can help to significantly reduce stress.

Prioritize and organize

When job and workplace stress threatens to overwhelm you, there are simple, practical steps you can take to regain control.

Time management tips for reducing job stress

Create a balanced schedule. All work and no play is a recipe for burnout. Try to find a balance between work and family life, social activities and solitary pursuits, daily responsibilities and downtime.

Leave earlier in the morning. Even 10-15 minutes can make the difference between frantically rushing and having time to ease into your day. Don’t add to your stress levels by running late.

Plan regular breaks. Make sure to take short breaks throughout the day to take a walk or chat to a friendly face. Also try to get away from your desk or work station for lunch. It will help you relax and recharge and be more, not less, productive.

Establish healthy boundaries. Many of us feel pressured to be available 24 hours a day or obliged to keep checking our smartphones for work-related messages and updates. But it’s important to maintain periods where you’re not working or thinking about work. That may mean not checking emails or taking work calls at home in the evening or at weekends.

Don’t over-commit yourself. Avoid scheduling things back-to-back or trying to fit too much into one day. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.” Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.
– via www.helpguide.org

Both Physical And Mental Matters

When it comes to managing work stress, you have to approach from all sides. It’s mental and physical both that need attention to guarantee that you are functioning at your highest level. We all want to be productive, but we want to live happy, healthy lives as well. These tips will help you get there.

Step 1: De-Stress Your Body

In modern life, we spend far more time engaging our bodie’s stress responses than we do engaging our relaxation responses. This has serious consequences for our physical health, as too much stress can accelerate the aging process, suppress our immune systems, and leave us feeling fatigued and depressed .

Since stress is a physical and hormonal chain reaction, the first place to start is using your body to interrupt the response. Indeed, the foundation for living a stress-free, physically energized life lies in what we eat, how (and how often) we move, and how much we sleep. The following are some of my favorite tips for eradicating stress on a physical level.

1. Eat whole foods. Processed food can cause us to feel anxious and can even contribute to ADD. We can prevent these symptoms by eating whole foods, eating more fruits and vegetables (especially green ones), and getting a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids from salmon or seeds such as hemp, chia, and flax. Nourishing your body will make you better prepared to take on whatever challenges you’ll face at work.

2. Exercise regularly. Physical activity releases feel-good, stress-relieving chemicals. Every time you find your stress level on the rise, get up and move. You can stretch, run in place, dance, or walk around the office or building. Doing so gets your blood and endorphins flowing, makes you happy, and turns off your flight or fight stress response. Boost the physical benefits of moving by taking several deep, cleansing breathes that trigger your relaxation stressor.

3. Get enough sleep. Work stressors are magnified when we’re sleep-deprived and foggy-brained. Aim for eight hours of sleep each night. Sleeping well can help you solve problems with a clearer mind and even boost your intelligence.

Step 2: De-Stress Your Mind

When I ask audiences the question, “What is stress?”, I typically receive answers such as “deadlines,” “traffic,” “over-commitment,” “not enough time,” and even “having to deal with stupid people.” These answers suggest that many of us believe stress is something that happens to us. In reality, stress is merely our response to all those external factors.

The stress response is a function of our autonomic nervous system’s flight-or-fight response. Specifically, stress is triggered by a thought or belief that we are in danger—and our body then goes into overdrive producing cortisol and adrenaline to help us get out of danger as fast as possible.

Stress begins in our minds via a thought or belief.
Let’s repeat that for emphasis: Stress begins in our minds via a thought or belief. Thus, an important key to neutralizing stress is to fuel our minds with more positive, happy, gratitude-filled thoughts in order to trigger our stress responses less often. Here are some of my favorite tips to make this happen:

1. Cultivate gratitude. Things will go wrong throughout our workday, or at least not according to plan. This is inevitable. We can take the sting out of these negative events by focusing on what’s great in our life. Each evening, write down three things you are grateful for. They can be as simple as seeing a gorgeous sunrise or being complimented on your new pair of shoes.

2. Meditate regularly. A consistent meditation practice—even if it’s only five minutes a day—may help lower blood pressure, and can help us control the thoughts that can trigger stress. The next time you get stressed because your boss just added another task to your already overflowing to-do list, stop and take a breath. Shake out your body, sit back down and meditate for five minutes.
– via Greatest

How do you deal with work stress? Do you “take it home” and feel the effects around the clock, or are you able to manage it well and feel your best most of the time?