~by Emma Sturgis~
The phone call with the cranky client. The lunch meeting that goes until four. The last-minute project that gets dumped on your desk before the weekend. All these situations and more represent just some of the stresses you’re likely to feel at work. Unfortunately, it’s usually not possible to work without at least some stress getting you down. However, it doesn’t have to knock you out.
Here are 3 tips that will help you reduce stress, relax and work more efficiently.
1. Be Sure to Unplug
While it’s tempting to just eat lunch at your desk or to skip that workout after work, you shouldn’t. Finding ways to exercise and move around may help break up your day, give you time to take a break from stressful tasks, and lower your stress levels. If you have time, take a run at lunch or catch that spin class at your local gym after work.
Or if you want a more low-key way to spend your down time, take up yoga, meditation or even adult coloring books. These activities get your mind off of your work stresses and on to more pleasant things. Many of them you can even do while you’re at work. Don’t discount how much a 5-minute walk or a few minutes spent coloring can brighten your day and relieve your stress.
2. Eat Right
You probably got tired of your mom telling you to eat your vegetables when you were a kid, but mom was right. Sound nutrition does more than just build the body. It helps us combat stress and helps to rebuild your cells. Cellular health determines how we handle stress, how fast our body repairs itself after illness, and how well we perform when we’re working at peak level.
Your cells rely on redox signaling to work correctly. If you’re feeling run-down, chances are very good that you’ve been heading toward a crash for a while. Supplements that rejuvenate redox signaling get your cells back up to par. In the process, you’ll be better able to manage your stress levels at work and at home.
3. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine can jazz you up when you need it. It can also make it nearly impossible for you to keep your stress levels down when you’re already stressed. Consuming caffeine may help you stay awake, but it also leads to crashes later that may mess with your body’s natural relaxation schedule. If you notice that your stress levels at work go up instead of down after that cup of coffee, it might be best to reduce your caffeine intake or eliminate it all together.
That said, you’ll want to reduce your caffeine intake gradually, or you may end up with side effects like headaches. You could try switching to beverage options that are lower in caffeine and gradually wean yourself off of them. You’ll also want to read the labels on your meds, as some automatically include a small dose of caffeine. Finally, make a note of any symptoms like headaches or nausea. You may be trying to reduce your caffeine intake too quickly. Slow and steady wins the race in this case.
Last Thoughts On Reducing Stress At Work
Stress can be a real brain zapper. It also breaks down your body, making you susceptible to illness. Learning to manage stress is the key. That said, many jobs are inherently stressful, which means that your stress levels will remain high. Taking steps like practicing meditation, eating right, and reducing your caffeine intake will help you manage your stress levels. The best chance you have to combat stress is to be aware of its triggers and come up with a plan ahead of time to alleviate it before your body breaks down.
Emma is a freelance writer based in Boston, MA. When not writing, she enjoys reading and rock climbing. Say “hi” on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2.