We’ve all got a relationship with our work. Some people love what they do and some people start their day by counting down the gruelling minutes until they can leave. Wherever you land on the spectrum, we all experience periods of stress at work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, job pressure is the main contributor to stress in America. And though we’ve got moose and polar bears up here, workplace stress is equally prevalent in Canada. While moderate amounts of stress can help productivity, too much can lead to physical and mental health issues. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do throughout the day to keep your stress levels manageable.
What is Stress, Anyway?
Stress is a hormonal response that occurs when our capacity to handle work is exceeded by what’s demanded of us. In an ideal world, we could clock out and jet off on vacation to shed our responsibilities, but this is hard to do. Instead, we must employ tactics to become more resilient and improve our ability to handle stress. Here are a few things you can do every workday to help you cope.
Take Short Breaks
Taking breaks can help you deal with stress. Shocker, right? When you’re fully consumed with something, taking a step back can help you reset and regain perspective. Breakthroughs are rarely achieved after starring at a problem for hours on end. This is why Albert Einstein took a job working at a post office, so he could let his mind wander to bigger problems while occupying his hands with menial tasks. It can be tough to concede in the moment, but taking a few minutes away from your work will have positive implications on your stress and productivity levels.
Go for a Walk
College hippies and yoga moms go on nature retreats for a reason. Stepping outside and breathing fresh air has a powerful calming effect. If you’re lucky enough to work near a park, a short stroll can be a great way to reset and momentarily detach yourself from the office environment.
Include Your Friends
Humans are social creatures and a lack of social interaction can have detrimental effects on our wellbeing. There’s a saying that goes ‘people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses’, and if you’ve ever had a really good or a really bad boss, you know this is true. The people you work with can significantly affect how much you enjoy your job. If you’ve got a friend at work, it’s important that you nurture your relationship. Just don’t spend all your time gossiping and complaining like you work in the annex on The Office.
Speaking of The Office, if you’re thinking that all of these activities will add up to a lot of time away from your responsibilities, check yourself and do them all at the same time.
Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
There’s a reason mindfulness and medication have been around as long as they have. Engaging in purposeful and controlled breathing is a great way to reduce stress and improve relaxation. If you’re struggling with getting started, there are a few great apps, like Headspace, that can guide you through a grounding meditation session in a matter of minutes.
Hit the Gym
I feel off when I haven’t been to the gym in a few days. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins to curb stress and improve your overall sense of wellbeing. And even without a scientific explanation, it's not hard to justify taking out your frustration after a hard day’s work on a stack of weights or a boxing bag. Hit the gym before work to set yourself up for the day or stop by after work to relieve some stress.
Put Your Mouth Where Your Mind Is
Your diet has a big impact on your body's ability to handle stress. Make sure you drink enough water, eat a variety of vegetables, and consume adequate amounts of protein. If you’re looking for a mid-day high-protein snack, scoop some Suppy whey protein and mix it up at the company water cooler.