A wide range of evidence suggests that workplace stress has reached record high levels during the pandemic, affecting both individuals and companies alike. While it isn’t possible to eliminate stress completely, there are certainly ways to manage and mitigate it. Here are 6 ways to help you reduce stress at work:
Create an end of workday routine
In the morning there’s a more obvious transition into the workday. You have a set routine like eating breakfast, sending the kids off to school, or reading the newspaper. Once these activities are done, you know that it’s time to start work.
At the end of the day, especially when working from home, this transition is far less obvious. To fix this, create an end of workday routine to match your morning routine. Close browser tabs, rinse out your coffee mug so it’s fresh for the morning, tidy up your desk, and make a clear attempt to disconnect from your workday.
Fully disconnect from work
Being able to fully disconnect from work is crucial in managing and lowering stress. Set boundaries on your working hours and stick to them firmly. For example, turn off the notifications on your phone so you won’t be tempted to check unimportant work emails and messages.
Add greenery to your workspace
Studies show that plants and nature are incredible stress relievers. It only takes a few minutes of looking at greenery to lower stress and anxiety levels, so add a few plants to your workspace. Don’t worry if you don’t have green fingers—research shows that fake plants and even pictures of plants have the same effect.
Try to incorporate small amounts of movement throughout your day. Any kind of movement, from a slow relaxing walk to a high intensity workout, helps to beat stress. If you’re working from home, take a quick walk around your neighborhood in the morning or overcome the afternoon slump by taking a walk after lunch. If you’re working in an office, take the stairs instead of the elevator. If there’s a park nearby, walk there on your lunch break to get some exercise and fresh air.
Manage your nutrition
Food has a significant impact on how we manage stress. Staying hydrated is equally important, as even mild dehydration exacerbates feelings of stress. Create a plan for healthy eating that supports your specific nutritional needs. Eat foods rich in healthy fats, protein, fiber, and nutrients to help fuel your body throughout the day. Try avoiding a low-fat diet, which can actually increase stress levels. Instead, opt for healthy fats found in nuts, fish, dairy, and avocados.
Improve your sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to reduce stress. If you aren’t comfortable overnight, you won’t be able to obtain good quality rest no matter how long you sleep. To improve the quality of your sleep, figure out what’s preventing you from being well rested. This can be everything from a room that’s too warm or too cold to a mattress or pillow that’s no longer supportive.
Once you’ve identified what’s causing your sleep issues, invest in upgrades for your bedroom. Look for products that are designed for your specific sleep needs, like cooling sheets, a weighted blanket, a white noise machine, or a mattress topper to make your bed softer or more supportive.
As soon as you start to implement changes that are beneficial to combating stress, you’ll notice an improvement in your sense of wellbeing. Once they become habits, you’ll start feeling better every day.