Six ways to help decrease stress at work
With the rise of the ‘always on’ work culture, it’s easy to let work take over, leaving your work-life balance swayed heavily the wrong way, and your health having to foot the bill.
Fear not, we’ve put together 6 tips to avoid this all to common situation, helping you stay heathy and stress free at work.
Taking a real lunch break
In many countries, especially the UK and US, lunch breaks are slowly becoming shorter and shorter. The ‘lunch hour’ has long become a thing of the past and it’s not a good thing. Being able to take time away from the office, either to catch up with friends, or get some me time, whilst eating a proper meal is important. It helps you refocus and gives you time to reflect, so that when you return to the office, you’re ready to get back to work with a clear head and a productive mindset.
Taking regular mini breaks
Taking regular breaks throughout your work day follows the same principal as taking a proper lunch break. Sitting at your desk all day long may make you appear more productive, but more screen time doesn’t translate into more work done. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Giving yourself mini-breaks, be it a coffee, a stroll around the office or a quick read of a magazine article, lets you rest your mind, and helps you to refocus. It can be hard to force yourself to take breaks if your work load is heavy, but give it a chance and you’ll soon find your productivity goes up.
Monk mode – focused work without the distractions
If you have the flexibility to work from home for part of the week, then seizing this opportunity is a great way to reduce stress and block out unwanted distractions. Monk mode can take many forms and iterations, but the basic essence of the ‘movement’ is to cut down on distractions and focus on the work that’s most important. Heading to the office late morning, not only lets you side step the morning rush, but it also gives you a few hours of productivity, without meetings and general office stuff pulling you away from the task in hand.
Whilst, like most of these tips, taking time away from your desk to chat with colleagues sounds counter-productive, research suggests more communication means more creativity. Taking time to chat to co-workers not only breaks up your day, it also breeds creativity, because inevitably the conversation usually includes work related topics and in turn an informal brain storming exercise. Rather than sitting at your desk struggling to get inspiration, communicating with the people around you lets you bounce ideas off one another.
Decrease screen time
Depending on your job description, sitting at a computer for the majority of the day may well be unavoidable, but it doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. Fast becoming the main culprit for distractions, sub-conscious stress and increased screen time, is of course your smart phone. Setting yourself some boundaries, like switching off work emails out of hours, keeping social media browsing to a minimum and not taking your phone to bed will give your mind time to rest.
Don’t overwork yourself
Putting in extra hours to finish projects and hit deadlines is often an inevitable part of the work-day, but try not to make a habit of it. It’s not sustainable in the long run, increasing stress levels, interfering with family time and making you feel anxious. More and more studies suggest that less is better in this department, with 40 hours being the maximum healthy work week.
Although these tips may feel like they’re stopping you getting as much work done, give them a chance and you’ll find that in the long run, you’ll be happier, healthier and more productive.
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