A 2007 survey reports that three-quarters of Americans consider their job a significant source of stress in their lives. In the same survey, half of the respondents say they feel their productivity suffers because of the stress they feel. Additionally, half say they have thought about finding a new job because their current one was too stressful.
Wondering how to relieve stress in a stressful work environment? Follow these tips...
Put an end to interruptions that stress you out
In today's office, workers are often interrupted as much as seven times in one hour. If you have deadlines looming, then phone calls, emails, coworkers stopping by to ask questions, and instant messages can feel like major delays that bring on stress. It's also incredibly difficult to refocus after dealing with every interruption. While it's impossible to stop all interruptions from happening, you do have control over some of them. For example, set up certain times throughout the day to check your email and reply back. That way, you can focus only on that task and get back to working on other projects.
Take a short break to relieve stress
Although taking breaks can seem counterproductive during a busy day, they can actually help you with productivity. If you're switching from one project to another, a few minutes of break time between two projects can actually help your brain stop focusing on one project and get it ready to focus on the upcoming one. Even something as simple as one or two minutes of stretching and deep breathing can help you shake off any stress that has amassed throughout the day and sharpen your focus.
Take care of yourself
Feeling stress in your work environment can lead to physical health problems, too. Preoccupation with your job and stress can cause bad habits, such as lack of exercise and poor eating. From there, your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and weight problems increase. Additionally, long hours and a hostile work environment can increase the risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
Finally, job stress can lead to burnout and depression. These are conditions that can lead to other health problems, including obesity, stroke, heart disease, and eating disorders. To help combat all of this, it's important to eat a balanced diet, exercise at least 30 minutes every day, and get a sufficient amount of sleep every night to relax and recharge.
And remember, exercise doesn't have to be excessive to be effective. Just 15 minutes a day has been shown to increase your health!
Straighten your posture
While we've known that posture can affect our health, it can also affect our stress level. Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and postdoctoral associate Andy Yap conducted experiments on the link between feeling cramped and closed in and our behavior. He found that people who sit in tight, hunched over positions feel more stress. Therefore, if you find yourself hunched over your keyboard all day, take the time to stretch and sit up straight. A few minutes of stretching throughout the workday can also help you feel more powerful and less stressful.
And with the introduction of affordable treadmill desks, there's almost no excuse anymore to be scrunched up all day in a cubicle!
Further your education online
Many times, people looking to change jobs or further their career will choose to go back to school. However, they often face the added stress of finding time to study and complete schoolwork. In spite of that, students who are working toward online nursing degrees have found that distance learning classes can ease stress by allowing them to work at their own pace. Since online classes have no set time to meet, students can either complete their assignments in the evening when they come home, or work on them in the morning before they leave.
See our list of Best Free Resources for Continuing Education.
Conclusion: Stress may be unavoidable, but you can manage it
Unfortunately, stress and work are almost synonymous in today's society. While there's no way to completely remove all the stress from your work environment, these stress-reducing tips can help you keep a level head as you work your way through the pressure.