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By: Kimberley Cherrington
Posted on: Oct 18, 2018

5 Ways to Deal with Stress at Work

Stress at work can either be a motivator or an inhibitor. There are days in the office when stress can spur you on to ‘get the job done’ - like if you’re close to signing your biggest customer of the month or finishing off on a project that could leverage a longed-for promotion. However, there are also times when stress becomes an overwhelming emotion, causing you to replace logic and reason with fear and irrationality.

According to research by the American Psychological Association (APA), 58% of Americans say work is a significant source of stress. This often results in absenteeism, illness and declines in productivity, costing US employers (and their bottom line) a staggering $300 billion every single year. Contributory factors to stress at work include excessive workload, organizational changes and disputes with other staff members.

Whilst some would argue that stress at work is an inevitable part of life, there are ways that you can minimize its impact on your overall health and well-being. The Cleaner Home shares our top 5 tips for dealing with stress at work.

1. TALK about it

It may sound clichéd, but a problem shared really is a problem halved. Talking to someone could help put your stresses into perspective, allowing you to adopt a whole new stance to the challenges faced at work.

Set up weekly meetings with your line manager to discuss your thoughts and feelings about the job. Utilize this time to be open and honest about aspects of work that are troubling you and turn the conversations in actionable solutions.

2. WRITE it down

A stress management study conducted by Dr. James W. Pennebaker from the University of Texas, found that writing about our emotions can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Pennebaker believes that putting pen to paper allows us to organise our thoughts, break out of excessive cogitation, and ‘normalize’ the issues that we may be facing in our lives.

Purchase a diary or journal and get into the habit of jotting down key moments from each day, good or bad. At the end of every week, reflect on your record of events and try to identify and eliminate the factors that may have contributed to workplace stresses.

3. Make TIME for you

It’s 9pm on a Friday evening, and you’re still ploughing through your work to-do list without a thought for the weekend. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Research by Family Living Today and Now Sourcing has revealed that 66% of full time employees in the US do not believe they have a healthy work/life balance, with 33% admitting to working on a weekend and/or during holidays.

Whilst it’s sometimes necessary for us to operate beyond our contracted hours, this should not become a regular occurrence. Be sure to give yourself enough time to wind down before going to bed every evening – watch an episode of your favourite TV program, read a book, or listen to soothing music. As for the weekends, dedicate them to activities that don’t involve sitting in front of your work laptop (or any laptop, for that matter!)

4. Practice BREATHING exercises

It is now widely recognised that breathing exercises can reduce stress and anxiety. Taking a deep breath increases the levels of oxygen in the human body, helping to combat feelings of tension, anxiety or impulsivity.

There are several mindfulness apps available that can help get you in the habit of taking a moment to breathe. Popular apps include Headspace, Calm and Aura which are all available to download on Apple and Android devices.

5. Get enough SLEEP

Sleep itself can seem like lost time to those who have a list of unfinished tasks to complete. However, research has shown that burning the midnight oil too often can increase your risk of developing depression and anxiety.

Whilst it isn’t always possible to get 8 hours of shut-eye every night, you can certainly take steps to improve your quality of sleep. Ditch the tea, coffee and fizzy drinks at least six hours before you’re due to hit the hay; undertake light exercises to help relax your muscles and release tension; and schedule a regular slot for sleep like you would a meeting or important work task.

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