The American Institute of Stress reports that job stress is the biggest source of stress for American adults. In fact, three of the four main causes of stress are related to work: workload, job security, and finding work/life balance. The bottom line: it’s easy to feel stressed at work.
Feelings of stress can come on slowly, or they can hit hard and fast. Either way, they can take a serious toll on your day and your productivity. Stress can cause everything from tiredness and mental fog to irritability and burnout.
But stress isn’t something you have to suffer through. In fact, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce stress right in the middle of your work day. Here are four ideas.
- Get moving. Exercise is an excellent antidote to stress in general, but even a little movement in the middle of the day can help you work through a current stress cycle so you can get back on top of things. Try standing up and stretching at your desk, going for a quick walk outside, or even taking a gym break during your lunch hour. Movement will help you feel more calm and present, so you can move past the stress and start getting things done again.
- Meditate. Meditation isn’t just for monks anymore. In fact, meditation apps like Calm and Headspace are increasingly popular and are extremely well-reviewed. The nice thing about using these programs for meditation is that they offer very short guided meditations (including 5-10 minute options), and meditations centered around specific topics, such as stress or work.
Meditation doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time, and it’s a great way to recharge and reset in the middle of a hectic workday.
- Reset your expectations. Sometimes, stress is the result of overly optimistic planning, overbooking, or otherwise unrealistic expectations for your day. If you’re feeling stressed, it’s time to step back and reexamine your plans, priorities, and expectations. What are the most important things you need to get done? What could you cut out in order to make sure those critical tasks are doable? What could you delegate or take off your plate?
Resetting your expectations can help take a weight off your shoulders, freeing up your time and mental energy so you can focus on what matters most.
- Listen to music. Few things can help change your mood faster than music. Try creating a playlist full of upbeat, positive songs to help you get out of a slump or break a stress cycle. Sometimes, a little boost is all it takes to turn your day around.
If you find that this tip really works for you, consider investing in some good headphones so that you can really make the most of it.
Related: How to Spot a Toxic Workplace
It’s hard to avoid stress at work, but it doesn’t have to be hard to handle it in a healthy, positive way. With a few simple tricks up your sleeve, you can reduce stress while working so that you enjoy your job again.
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