Job-related stress is unavoidable in any line of work. The effects of too much stress buildup, however, can be detrimental to you and your career.
The average workweek has increased to about 47 hours, and with that comes increased stress. Workplace stress can have a significant impact on your work performance, quality of work, and relationships with coworkers and superiors.
Stress expert Kathleen Hall, founder and CEO of The Stress Institute and Mindful Living Network, helps people manage their physical and mental stress. She offers science-backed tips on creating balance and reducing stress.
Hall says “people are so overbooked, overworked, and overwhelmed they can only remember simple, quick tips.”
To make it easy, she says to remember ACE: Awareness. Choice. Experience.
“Become aware of your stress triggers,” Hall says. “Each person is different, and we respond to different stress triggers.”
It’s important to complete this first step and acknowledge the roots of your stress. Hall suggests writing down three situations that bring you the most stress, like deadlines, a relationship, or a job task.
The next step is “choosing one stress of the above stressors that you would like to alleviate,” Hall says.
This will help you segue into the final phase and can provide you with an in-depth look at one of your stress triggers.
Once you have chosen one of your stress triggers, Hall offers four tips (and another acronym) to help you get through it.
You should “experience SELF-care,” she says.
1. Serenity: There are multiple ways to create self-serenity, starting with your breathing.
“Clear your mind by focusing on your breath,” Hall says. “Inhale to the count of 1-2-3-4, and exhale to 1-2-3-4. This reduces the production of stress hormones.”
A short-term option is downloading an app to help you, perhaps one that plays nature or ocean sounds, Hall says. A long-term solution can be meditation or yoga.
2. Exercise: “Any form of exercise reduces your stress right away,” Hall says. “Go for a short walk or stand up at your desk and do some stretches.”
3. Love: “Connecting with other people reduces your stress,” Hall says. She suggests you go to lunch or spend other time with your coworkers, friends, or neighbours.
4. Food: Food choice can play a major role in your stress levels. Consuming things like sugar, salt, and alcohol can increase your stress levels, she says.
Hall advises eating foods rich in vitamin B6, such as bananas, nuts, turkey, or tuna. She also recommends opting for whole grains, blueberries, and oatmeal.
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