WE HAVE ALL experienced stress in the workplace at one time or another. Even when we’re lucky enough to love what we do, it’s normal to experience some level of stress throughout the day.
In today’s busy world, the workplace can sometimes feel like an emotional roller coaster. Long hours, tight deadlines, and ever-increasing demands can leave us feeling worried, drained, and overwhelmed.
When stress exceeds our ability to cope, it stops being helpful and starts causing damage to our mind. It can make us feel anxious and overwhelmed, dampening our job satisfaction and productivity.
If stress on the job is interfering with your work performance, health, or personal life, it’s time to take action.
We encourage all our clients, customers, staff and students to take regular ‘booster’ breaks – 15 minutes, or whatever you can spare, to unwind, away from phone calls, computers, TVs, and smartphones. Whether that time is spent reconnecting with colleagues, taking a walk, reading a book or listening to music.
No matter what you do for a living, or how stressful your job is, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your overall stress levels and regain a sense of control at work.
Implementing some of the following practices will help:
Take care of your body
Eating well is key to overall health, including your mental well-being. Be sure to eat nutritious meals, drink plenty of water and get enough sleep. Getting too little or too much sleep can have a big impact on how you feel.
Exercise offers many benefits and when you exercise; your brain releases the feel-good chemicals, endorphins, giving you an instant mood boost. From going for a long walk and participating in outdoors sports to taking a fitness class, there are hundreds of ways you can be active.
Regardless of your age and fitness level, exercise can make you feel good about yourself, as well as protect you from all kinds of health problems. Even 10 minutes of exercise every day can have a positive impact on both your physical and mental health.
Connect with family, friends and colleagues
Have people around you that matter and enrich your life. Build relationships with the people around you and invest time connecting with people at home, work and in your community.
A great level of social support and encouragement is essential for your happiness and emotional health, even if it’s just from a handful of people.
Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and do something you enjoy. Whether it’s taking a long walk, doing a daily crossword or going to the cinema, it’s positive for your wellbeing to do something that makes you feel good.
Set realistic goals
Aim high, but be realistic. Create realistic goals and take steps to achieve them. Even small steps are a sign of progress. Keep moving forward.
Don’t be a hero
If you over-commit by taking on too many projects with unrealistic deadlines, you will not only lose credibility at work but you will also stress yourself out unnecessarily. If you can delegate or share the responsibility for some projects, go ahead.
Take your 15
Booster breaks, whether they are 15 minutes or five, have been proven to reduce stress, fatigue and mental pressure. Making time for regular breaks, regardless of how busy you are, will make a real difference to your productivity, job satisfaction and overall well-being.
Get help when you need it
Seeking help is a sign of strength — not a weakness. Don’t think that you’re wasting someone’s time; it’s always OK to accept that you’re not always able to cope. We all need help and support from time to time.
Elbha Purcell is head of dietetics and well-being at Aramark Northern Europe, which is running its TAKE15 campaign during the month of October.