Is work stressing you out? Between the meetings, appointments, deadlines and that flashing red light on your phone - on top of your never ending to do list - it can all be overwhelming. April is National Stress Awareness Month, which means its the perfect time to get started managing and eliminating that extra anxiety at work.
According to Forbes article 12 Ways to Eliminate Stress at Work, "The average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate. Modern workers are interrupted seven times an hour and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day." No wonder we are all so stressed! To help you balance all of the commitments here are a few strategies that may be beneficial.
Taking the time to organize, schedule and coordinate your day before it begins will help you stay focused and prioritize. The Forbes article has a few recommendations on this tactic including acting rather than reacting, which means realizing which items are in your control and those that are not. This quick check can help you create an effective and efficient to-do-list. With all of the competing deadlines and fast-changing priorities, it is critical to prioritize your priorities. Remember to always keep in mind your personal goals, strengths and strategic contributions to the organization. By doing so you will be able to cull your tasks by focusing on the projects that are most aligned with where you want to be in the future.
It is important to take a few minutes throughout the day to recharge with short breaks. Consider even scheduling them out on your calendar to help maintain this valuable commitment to improving your well being. This may be as simple as standing up to stretch if you have been on the computer for several hours, taking a quick walk around the office building with a colleague, or even just a few deep breaths can work wonders. Although many of us ignore this next guideline, its critical to point out the benefits of taking a full lunch break and away from your desk if possible. All of these easy activities can help clear your mind when its running in circles, re-center your attention and ultimately reduce stress.
Today is National Stress Awareness Day, and this is your reminder to take care + let go of stress. pic.twitter.com/EKGz23SGcH— Medela (@Medela_US) April 16, 2014
Care For Your Body
Eating right, exercising and sleeping are tools that not only promote good health, but also help with stress management both inside and outside the workplace. It is essential to take care of yourself by understanding and identifying your pressure points and learning how to deal with anxiety in a healthy manner. Find your go-to healthy snacks to get you through the day when you are running low on energy.
Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of Success Under Stress, says "eating badly will stress your system, and when you're not sleeping well, you're not getting the rejuvenating effects." According to the CDC, an estimated 60 million Americans do not get sufficient sleep, which is a critical recovery period for the body. If racing thoughts keep you from falling asleep or you wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep, Melnick suggests a simple breathing trick that will knock you out fast: Cover your right nostril and breathe through your left for three to five minutes.
As much as we love it at times, technology can be a powerful work stress culprit at work and at home and some studies have shown that although we may fight it, multi-tasking actually can make us less productive. Turn off those email notifications, every time a new message is received when you're not at the office. Difficult I know, but by committing to this practice you can focus on the task at hand, rather than being distracted by every message that comes in. If you are responding to emails at 1:00 am, or taking calls at dinner time, it is not only affecting you, but also your personal family time. Set boundaries for yourself and communicate these to your colleagues, the positive results may surprise you.
Leverage Your Support System
Some people have the tendency of inflicting stress upon themselves by trying to be the solution to every challenge. If this sounds familiar, it's important to realize that there are support resources out there that can help you manage your time and stress influences. All companies should have some sort of benefit system in place to assist you when needed, and of course there are others within your organization who may be able to help shoulder some weight if you ask nicely. For the more emotional situations, you may want to rely on your spouse or other family members who deeply care about your well being.
At Brandman University there are many resources available to students that can help them navigate through their commitments. Consider our executive coaching staff and academic advisers for example who help transition new students into classes when juggling school and work, then assist them in the planning process to stay on track to graduation. Think about those at work, home and school who you can rely on to support you when you're the one stressed out, and of course recognize when others may be in the same position and offer your support.