Nov. 3 was National Stress Awareness Day. Like National Mammography Day, mental health is not something you should think about only once a year. However, the first Wednesday of November, has been designated as the 24 hours to reinforce the fact that you are not doing yourself any favors by stressing about situations you cannot control.
Learning how to hone my ability to “let go that of which I cannot control” was difficult. The process was long, and although I am usually able to de-stress, there are times when stress rears its ugly head, and I have to take specific measures to catch my breath and, frankly, not “freak out.”
The owner of any business knows that stressful work environments or stressed-out employees can lead to less productivity and poor performance. Rising stress levels give the perception of higher demands on employees, and that can lead to feelings of frustration, lack of focus, less efficiency, poor decision making and concentration issues.
Not only does stress lead to problems in the workplace, it can lead to personal health issues as well. If you are faced with insomnia, headaches, depression or nervousness from stress, your quality of life can decrease as well.
There are a couple of readers who are my “go-to” women in the workplace to answer questions, so I turned to them for ideas to share on de-stressing when work is stressful. Here are a few ideas that contribute to a more peaceful work environment.
Put the mobile device away.
Take a moment to get up, get some coffee and gather your thoughts.
Take a couple deep breaths.
Play some relaxing music.
Look at pictures of your family.
Take a short walk.
Sometimes leaving your desk or workspace is impossible, even if for a few moments. So I would imagine that breaking out a yoga mat and doing a little yoga to relax is most likely out of the question. If you are stuck in one spot at work and you feel the panic rise up, stick with deep breathing to reduce tension and stress. It will help immensely.
Before you make fun of meditation as a de-stressor, try it. I experienced a meditation session two years ago that changed my stress levels drastically. In fact, I enjoyed it so much and felt so much relief from practicing guided meditation, I now use it with my two youngest boys. Every night, my 8- and 11-year-sons listen to a 10-minute guided meditation and 90% of the time, they are sleeping soundly by the end.
Meditating at home is not the same as meditating at work, and certainly do not fall asleep! But using it to increase mindfulness and awareness will help eliminate distractions and allow you to focus more clearly.
An excessive workload is a huge stressor, and it's worse if it is disorganized. Take the time to plough through your mountain of work and get organized. Start with prioritizing your projects, with the most important on the top along with those that have deadlines.
Stop attempting to do all the tasks and requirements of your job alone if you don’t have to. You aren’t a superhero, so don’t pretend to be. Delegate. If you have coworkers with room on their plate for more work, and they are capable, let them help.
The energy drinks and caffeine you consume in the morning or before work? Reduce or cut them out completely! Caffeine spikes stress levels, and although you may feel it improves productivity and focus, it is short lived.
To date, the best advice to de-stress is to learn to let go of the things you cannot control. If you can master that, you are well on your way to a pleasant work environment that is close to stress-free.