We like to think of ourselves as Yoda when it comes to how awesome we are at our jobs, but unlike Yoda, few of us can Zen-away our work stress. A recent Forbes article noted that the average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their docket at any given time, and of that group, 40% of them admit to lying awake at night worrying about their work stresses. If that sounds like your regular routine, you can probably benefit from learning how to relieve work stress before it begins to interfere with your life outside of work. Some savvy businesses are offering their employees much-needed stress relief in the form of on-site yoga classes, optional telecommuting and remote work days, and designated “chill out” spaces in the office. However, not everyone is lucky enough to have an office environment that is conducive to these types of stress relievers, so it is up to the individual worker to seek refuge and calm in a way that best suits them. Thankfully, there are some great ways you can help yourself reduce the pressure so you can live to fight (and work) another day. Most importantly, these tactics will help you keep the work stress under control so that you don’t have to take it home with you.
Manage Your Energy Output (and Reboot)
Everyone has a wall they hit when it comes to their energy output, and you very likely know your own body’s signals when they tell you that it is time to take a break. Whether or not you listen to those signals is another story. Studies show that workers who push themselves beyond their wall are doing themselves – and their work – a disservice. That’s why it is important to schedule yourself a big push of work, around 90 minutes, followed by a necessary period of relaxation to prevent burnout. Ten or fifteen minutes of downtime will do your mind and body, as well as the rest of your tasks, a huge service.
Take a Walk
Did you know that replacing your lunch break with a half-hour walk can increase your overall relaxation, increase your energy levels, and reduce your stress? A recent university study asked 75 university staff members to take a 30-minute walking break on a frequent basis, at least three times a week, over a 10-week period. Overall, study participants reported feeling uplifted and relaxed when they returned to work on the days they walked and stressed on the days they didn’t. The next time you have super stressful week at work, try a walk during your break. Chances are, you’ll come back to work feeling invigorated and better able to handle the rest of the day and week.
Schedule Yourself for Relaxation Just because your workday doesn’t leave much time or provide outlets for destressing does not mean that you are stuck without a release. Take it upon yourself to keep a regular de-stress appointment on your schedule so you can be sure to take care of yourself. Make and keep a weekly appointment for massage therapy to relax your muscles and ease your tensions. Massage has been proven to help improve your mood, keep your heart healthy, ease your troubled mind, boost your immune system, better your sleep, and of course, decrease your stress levels. A meditation routine, a weekly yoga class, regular social plans with your besties, or having bi-weekly spa appointments for self-care that can make a world of difference to your work life and your after-work life as well.