While some workplace stress is normal, excessive stress can interfere with your productivity and performance, impact your physical and emotional health, and affect your relationships and home life. It can even determine success or failure on the job. You can’t control everything in your work environment, but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless, even when you’re stuck in a difficult situation. Whatever your ambitions or work demands, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from the damaging effects of stress, improve your job satisfaction, and bolster your well-being in and out of the workplace.

Read these tips below to manage stress at work.

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Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine.

Avoid, or at least reduce, your consumption of nicotine and any drinks containing caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and so will increase your level of stress rather than reduce it.

Alcohol is a depressant when taken in large quantities, but acts as a stimulant in smaller quantities. Therefore using alcohol as a way to alleviate stress is not ultimately helpful.

Swap caffeinated and alcoholic drinks for water, herbal teas, or diluted natural fruit juices and aim to keep yourself hydrated as this will enable your body to cope better with stress.

You should also aim to avoid or reduce your intake of refined sugars – they are contained in many manufactured foods (even in savoury foods such as salad dressings and bread) and can cause energy crashes which may lead you to feel tired and irritable. In general, try to eat a healthy, well-balanced and nutritious diet.

 

Learn to Say ‘No’

A common cause of stress is having too much to do and too little time in which to do it.  And yet in this situation, many people will still agree to take on additional responsibility.  Learning to say “No” to additional or unimportant requests will help to reduce your level of stress, and may also help you develop more self-confidence.

To learn to say “No”, you need to understand why you find it difficult.  Many people find it hard to say “No” because they want to help and are trying to be nice and to be liked.  For others, it is a fear of conflict, rejection or missed opportunities.  Remember that these barriers to saying “No” are all self-created.

You might feel reluctant to respond to a request with a straight “No”, at least at first.  Instead think of some pre-prepared phrases to let other people down more gently.  Practice saying phrases such as:

“I am sorry but I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.”
“Now is not a good time as I’m in the middle of something.  Why don’t you ask me again at….?”
“I’d love to do this, but …”

 

Get More Sleep

A lack of sleep is a significant cause of stress. Unfortunately though, stress also interrupts our sleep as thoughts keep whirling through our heads, stopping us from relaxing enough to fall asleep.

Rather than relying on medication, your aim should be to maximise your relaxation before going to sleep.  Make sure that your bedroom is a tranquil oasis with no reminders of the things that cause you stress.  Avoid caffeine during the evening, as well as excessive alcohol if you know that this leads to disturbed sleep. Stop doing any mentally demanding work several hours before going to bed so that you give your brain time to calm down. Try taking a warm bath or reading a calming, undemanding book for a few minutes to relax your body, tire your eyes and help you forget about the things that worry you.

You should also aim to go to bed at roughly the same time each day so that your mind and body get used to a predictable bedtime routine.

 

Try Relaxation Techniques

Each day, try to relax with a stress reduction technique.  There are many tried and tested ways to reduce stress so try a few and see what works best for you.

For example, try self-hypnosis which is very easy and can be done anywhere, even at your desk or in the car. One very simple technique is to focus on a word or phrase that has a positive meaning to you. Words such as “calm” “love” and “peace” work well, or you could think of a self-affirming mantra such as “I deserve calm in my life” or “Grant me serenity”.  Focus on your chosen word or phrase; if you find your mind has wandered or you become aware of intrusive thoughts entering your mind, simply disregard them and return your focus to the chosen word or phrase. If you find yourself becoming tense again later, simply silently repeat your word or phrase.

Don’t worry if you find it difficult to relax at first. Relaxation is a skill that needs to be learned and will improve with practice.

 

Manage Your Time

At times, we all feel overburdened by our ‘To Do’ list and this is a common cause of stress. Accept that you can not do everything at once and start to prioritize your tasks.

Make a list of all the things that you need to do and list them in order of genuine priority. Note what tasks you need to do personally and what can be delegated to others to do. Record which tasks need to be done immediately, in the next week, in the next month, or when time allows

 

 

Rest If You Are Ill

If you are feeling unwell, do not feel that you have to carry on regardless. A short spell of rest will enable the body to recover faster.

 

 

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