Be Happy at Work By Reducing Stress

Stress affects your performance at work.  A little stress is not a bad thing.  It keeps you on your toes.  Too much stress can be paralyzing.  When the stress of a job gets to you, you need some strategies to help you cope.  Here are 11 ways my clients and I have found to minimize the stress so we can be active and happy.

  1. Breathe deeply -This is probably the most important stress reducer.  Often when someone is under great stress they either stop breathing or take really shallow breaths.  Instead take a deep enough breath so that you can see your belly rise.  Do this several times to relax yourself.  (I’ve become more aware of deep breathing since my mother got sick.  She has to take some deep breaths during the day to insure that her oxygen level remains above 90%, When I tell her to take deep breaths, I do it too.  It definitely helps make me feel more alert and grounded.)
  2. Sleep 7 or 8 hours a night – Lack of sleep can make you tense and depressed.  Most of us need at least 7 hours every night to stay calm and alert at work.
  3. Exercise – Walking is one way to get the exercise you need to keep your body in shape and happy.  If you sit at a desk all day, get up occasionally, walk around and stretch.  (Once I sit down at my desk I rarely get up.  I do need to work on this one!)
  4. Mindful eating – Take the time to really taste your food.  Don’t eat at your desk and work. Instead spend some time sitting quietly eating.  This gives you a chance to unwind.  Move to another location and leave your work thoughts at your desk. Eat slowly and take the time to enjoy the food.  Not only is this tip helpful to calm yourself and relieve stress but it is also helpful to people trying to diet.  Your brain will have the time to send you a message when you are full.  When you eat fast you tend to overeat.
  5. Plan carefully so you don’t leave everything for the last minute– Stress comes when you have too much to handle and you aren’t sure where to start.  Some of my clients call it “overwhelm”.  You can combat overwhelm by planning ahead so you know what you will do and when you will do.  It helps you to see that your plan allows you to complete the work. Can’t get everything done?  Move on to 6.
  6. Prioritize your work – When there is more work to be completed than you have time for, it is necessary to prioritize your work.  Ask yourself what are the most important projects that must be worked.  Prioritizing helps you to figure out what to focus on.  It can help eliminate the feeling of overwhelm you have when you look at everything that must be done and become paralyzed by the enormity of the work. 
  7. Delegate work if you can or ask for help – If you have others who work for you, delegate the repetitive work that someone else can do to free up your time to do the work only you can do.  Those who do not have people to delegate to, try asking for help from someone when you are feeling overwhelmed.
  8. Create good boundaries and learn to say no – Be really clear what is and what is not your responsibility and learn to say no to others when they ask you to take on additional work.  Saying no is difficult to do but it is extremely important to learn how and when to say it.
  9. Simplify your life in any way you can – Overwhelm can come from a variety of sources.  If you see too much “stuff” in your home or office and you feel out of control, you get stressed. Seeing hundreds of emails in your inbox is stressful too. One way to simplify is to get rid of things you don’t need.  Simplify the way you work too by eliminating unnecessary steps so the job gets done faster.
  10. Write in a Journal – Writing has always been a great stress reliever for me.  Once I write about my stress I leave it on the page and move forward stress free. Others see solutions when they write the issues down. Still others find it helpful to write down what they are grateful for.  It changes their focus and their mood. 
  11. Create manageable baby steps toward goals – If you have set ambitious goals for yourself or your business try making a step by step process to reach the goal.  If the steps are easily achievable you will feel you are moving in the right direction and that the goal is reachable.  This gives you the energy to move forward toward the goal.

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