You wake up and dive in the shower, running late for your nine o clock start. Reaching the office, you grab coffee before a solid four hours of graft ensues. Lunch is a hasty wrap from the office deli, eaten at your desk between calls. To make matters worse, your supervisor calls in the afternoon as your performance is down. Call, emails, texts, complaints, demands. By the end of the day you barely know your own name, never mind your job title. You’re red-eyed, eye-popping tired and completely stressed out. Sound familiar?
Stress in the workplace is now the biggest cause of sickness absences in the UK, with a whopping 100 million sick days lost each year to the plague of pessimism pervading offices around the country. That isn’t good for us, for our employers or for our economy, and with workplace stress found to be more prevalent in times of economic hardship, a vicious pattern of cause and effect continues.
Want to live a healthier, happier work-a-day life? Try some or all of these guaranteed stress-busters and see what works for you.
- Pack lunch the night before, and pick out what you are going to wear if you can. Lunch is important, giving you have a decent dinner to get your teeth into half-way through the day.
- Eat a solid breakfast. Porridge with fruit or something fibrous and filling will give you energy and feed your concentration whilst you toil.
- Prioritise your workload. This is will decrease your anxiety no end, as you manage smaller tasks promptly and efficiently, curve balls thrown your way won’t seem so scary. Letting things build up is a sure-fire route to stress.
- Communicate with your colleagues. If your workload is too much, speak up. Remember, if you don’t tell, they won’t know.
- Research shows that staff feel most anxious when they feel they are struggling alone. Ask your co-workers how they are doing and ask for a team meeting if the consensus is that the workload is heavy.
- Suggest stress-busting activities and ‘time-outs’ at work. Some companies have masseuse days, well being checks and other benefits you can take advantage of. Check your contract and employee benefit scheme.
- Count to ten before diving into action. Working frantically to try and combat an issue can often result in shoddy results, as you panic and miss out important details. Give yourself five minutes to jot down notes, close your eyes and think, or do whatever it is you have to do to approach your task in a cool, calm and collected manner.
- Avoid alcohol during the week. That bottle of Sauvignon looks tempting, but will only serve to exacerbate feelings of anxiety, worry and stress at work the next day. After all, it is a depressant.
- Do something for yourself every evening, from a long hot shower, to a favorite program, to half an hour of reading, to the gym. Even if you have time only to sit with your eyes closed for ten minutes and count sheep, do something that severs your evening activities from your daytime ones.
- Get your beauty sleep. Eight hours a night will make you perform better and feel able to cope with more. Play music or concentrate on your breathing to unwind, distract your brain and drop off, ready for the next day’s work.
The key is preparation, planning and a little forward thinking, as well as the ability to stop in your tracks and prioritize. And above all, to let things go. Your health is worth more than your hedge fund investment.
Thanks to Inspire 360 - the UK’s NLP training specialists – for providing this article on dealing with workplace stress.