Do you ever feel like work is zapping your energy and zest for life? You are not alone, according to a survey carried out by MIND, one in three people stated their work life was stressful. So, what can we do about it, how do we reduce stress at work?
“Our ability to deal with stress, is to choose one thought over another”. William James
STRESS AND OUR MINDSET
We all experience stress in some form or another throughout our lives, whether that is awaiting our A level results, taking a driving test, looking after young children or giving a speech at work. However, the effects of that stress will be different for everyone. Although we are all human and have the same basic biology, our perception of the stress will be individual to us. For example, one person can be stressed at the thought of giving a presentation at work, someone else might find it easy. Our perception of stress IS our reality.
PHYSICAL SIGNS OF STRESS
When we are stressed, our body goes into fight or flight mode. Our sympathetic nervous system is fired up and we release adrenaline & cortisol. Cortisol in small amounts has its place but when we are constantly living in this state, then cortisol is overly produced and we are stuck in a state of sympathetic dominance. This then drives anxiety, mood swings, food cravings and the inevitable ‘spare tyre’ of weight gain.
SIGNS THAT STRESS IS AFFECTING YOU
- Low energy or fatigue
- digestive issues
- rapid heart rate
- low self-esteem
- frequent colds & illnesses
All of these physical effects are created by our thoughts which then drive our reactions. For example, an unhelpful co-worker, a tight deadline, running late for work etc. A little bit of tension is to be expected and is perfectly normal. However, chronic stress can cause long-term health issues such as ChronicFatigue, M.E and Fibromyalgia which can take a long time to heal.
Our thoughts and the beliefs we create from them, will drive the physical response. I am not saying that the stress does not exists, it does and is very real. However, if we want to reduce it, we need to find strategies that will work for us when we feel it start to kick in.
STRATEGIES TO CONSIDER TO REDUCE STRESS
- First become aware of your emotional state. When you feel yourself getting stressed, stop and take 4 deep, belly breaths. By stopping to breathe, you break the cycle and put your body back into the parasympathetic state. The rest and digest state that is calming to the body. It will give you time to think.
- Identify what it is that is actually bothering you. For example, is the backache caused by an incorrect chair/desk, or is it something or someone that elicits that response? Keep a journal for a week to see if there is a pattern. What caused it and how did you react?
- Try not to catastrophise negative thoughts. If someone doesn’t reply to an email, don’t read into it with a negative consequence.
- Look at your time management and try to prioritise what work needs to be done first. That way you will feel more in control and less anxious. When you start to get anxious, you do not think clearly and mistakes happen.
- Don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and stressed at times with the number of things you have to do. Apply the rule, do or delegate. If you can’t do something, or someone can do it better, delegate it. Don’t take on other people’s stress.
- Take time out for you every day. If it is all getting too much, go for a walk, change your environment, make a drink. Just walk away from your desk for 10 mins. Small breaks like this will help you avoid burnout.
- Support yourself physically by giving your body healthy foods. Have healthy snacks like nuts, fruit on hand to avoid the sugar spikes. Drink water and herbal teas to keep you calm and focused and always have some protein with your meals.
- If it’s all getting too much, talk to a friend or colleague that you trust. Being able to have someone to offload to and listen to your concerns, can be very helpful to get perspective on things.
- If you are really unhappy at work and it is affecting your health, then maybe you need to look at changing job roles or adjusting your hours in some way.
- If work is busy, find time in your personal life to balance this by doing something that you enjoy and that brings you joy. It can be something as simple as taking a bath, to going for a run.
Ultimately, stress is a fact of human life. We all react differently. However, if we can be kind to ourselves and adopt a positive strategy that works for us, then we can find balance in our lives and ultimately that is what a good life is all about.
If you are struggling to find ways to rebalance your life & wellbeing and it is heading towards burnout, then contact me for a free discovery call to see how I can support you to live the life you choose.
I offer 1-2-1 coaching that can help you unlock the interference that is stopping you getting where you want to be. Then together we can map out a work/life balance that works for you.
You can be the architect of your life with the right support. I can help you get there.