Stress is super common and can detrimentally hurt your health. First, know that stress is a normal reaction to a trigger. This is our body’s way of reacting and protecting ourselves, kicking off fight and flight responses. However, if you do not manage your stressful reactions, it can affect your body much as a disease or illness would. Too much stress can turn into chronic stress and cause other unforeseen health problems.
Managing stress does not have to feel impossible, but first, you need to find what is causing your stress. Common causes of stress in the workplace are low salaries, excessive workloads, and a lack of social support and professional development opportunities.
Are you ready to manage your stress? Listed below are five excellent and easy tips to follow for stress management.
Tip 1: Pay attention to your diet, exercise, and sleep
Changing small habits during your day can improve your stress levels. The physical body and your mind are strongly connected. If you are not taking care of one, the other will suffer. Stress can manifest worse if you are not getting enough sleep or eating the proper nutrients.
When you are stressed, your body will release adrenaline and cortisol, which affect the digestive systems. Many of us immediately seek food for comfort, but a diet high in fat or sugar, coupled with high cortisol levels, can cause obesity and internal organ diseases.
What about exercise? Exercise releases what we know as the ‘happy drug,’ endorphins. These chemicals can release stress by providing temporary happiness. Exercise also reduces the risk of health conditions and strengthens your immune system and heart health. You don’t have to ask for a personal trainer, but simple cardio like a step counter and daily walks is a great first step!
Tip 2: Establish boundaries
There is more to life than just working. Establishing boundaries is essential to lower stress. Remember that the surrounding people do not have to approve of the boundaries you make; they are yours and yours alone. Relationships are built and strengthened with respect, and sometimes that comes from establishing boundaries.
Try to avoid working on your days off and silence notifications. Keep your relationships professional and delegate responsibility when appropriate.
Tip 3: Try meditation or deep breathing
According to Harvard Health, breathing techniques reduce stress because breath control relaxes the tense body. Deep breathing techniques fill your lungs with breath, reducing your stress. When you have anxiety and stress, your body reacts by breathing deeply, quickly, but shortly. These short breaths don’t allow the oxygen to flow correctly, causing a butterfly nervous sensation in the pit of your stomach.
Not everyone understands how to practice deep breathing, but it is easier to follow along with a meditation video. Guided meditation is perfect for beginners and can be done as quickly as five minutes.
Tip 4: Take time to ‘switch off’ and take vacation days
We have vacation days for a reason, so use them! It is easy to get carried away with the stress and vibrancy of work and professional life, but taking vacations can be life-saving. One study by the American Psychological Association found that taking vacations reduces stress by taking a person out of their environment, especially when the setting causes stress.
Vacations, though, can be costly. However, even taking a few days to book a staycation at home with video games, your favorite food, and family and friends can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Tip 5: Ask for support
Asking for support does not make you weak. Many workers will keep their mouths shut and not ask for help, even when drowning in problems at home and at work. Support can go a long way. Reaching out to management and coworkers related to tasks and clarification can make it easier to work. You never know how simple and readily available the answer is without asking.
Asking for support is a job for both managers and workers. Managers and supervisors can help manage their team’s stress by avoiding stressful situations altogether. Individuals working in stressful conditions with jobs that do not fit their skills will not complete the work successfully or with confidence. It is best to match every employee to their related skills and lessen workloads as much as possible.
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