Reduce Workplace Stress with 4 Easy Tips
Stress can cause an elevated heart rate, muscular tension, and trigger the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. That causes interference with eating, sleeping, and your ability to fight infections. Stress also often leads to early career burnout and dangerous health complications such as cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Fortunately, there are four simple and easy things you can do to help reduce stress and keep you healthier and happier.
1. Avoid Multitasking
For years multitasking was hailed as a valuable skill. Now researchers believe that it actually reduces productivity. You may be doing more, but less attentively. That leads to mistakes and do-overs, ultimately costing you time and effort. Instead of trying to spin plates by multitasking, prioritize your tasks. Then give each your undivided attention, as you tick them off your to-do list, one at a time. You’ll likely find that you do a better job and accomplish significantly more, with considerably less stress.
2. Establish Boundaries
To achieve that level of focus, you may need to reevaluate your boundaries. Research confirms that it can take an average of 20 minutes or more to get back on task, after even a small distraction. Set up systems that encourage concentration. If you need to check emails and texts, do it at scheduled intervals instead of every time one arrives. Then you can ignore the distractions while you’re concentrating on the task at hand, knowing that you will handle everything at the appointed time.
3. Clear Your Desk
Studies also reveal that a clean workplace or cleared-off desk translates into clear thinking. Even just looking at a messy desk can trigger mental stress, as you think “I’ve got a mountain of work to do.” But when you survey a clear, organized office it has the opposite effect, reassuring your mind that everything is under control. Studies also link an uncluttered environment to more successful weight management. So if weight control is on your to-do list, that’s a fringe benefit of tidying up your desk at the end of each day. You’ll start each workday with a fresh perspective and less worry.
4. Eat Stress-Reducing Foods
Avoid sugary drinks, too much caffeine, and get your daily dose of magnesium and potassium, which are known stress reducers. Two great sources are bananas and avocados. Green leafy vegetables help to keep your cortisol levels steady, and Omega-3 fats−the healthy ones found in chia seeds and fish− manage adrenaline levels. Harvard Medical School also recommends a breakfast rich in healthy proteins, with complex carbs, to balance your blood sugar and jumpstart cognitive function.
Of course sufficient sleep and daily exercise are also fantastic stress reducers and mood elevators. Take the time to renew and rejuvenate. When you’re not at work, give yourself a break and go have fun with friends and family.