We’ve all heard how important it is to reduce and manage the stress in your life when you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle. One reliable source of stress is often your job, where you spend a whole lot of time. Whether you work for someone else or run your own business (like me), here are five trusty methods for managing stress at work.
People often ask me which parts of owning a company I like and dislike. My answer is the same to both: being the boss. One the positive side, it’s great because I can build the company that I always wanted to work at and I don’t have to answer to anybody. On the negative side, being the boss is rough because when something goes wrong, or there’s a tough decision, it always finds its way to me and I have nobody else to hand it off to.
When a lot of hard decisions fall in my lap, my days can get really stressful. After having to deal with this stress for six years now, I have go-to solutions for managing stress at work:
1. Take a break
A short bike ride through a park or a walk around the block can work wonders for clearing my head and calming me down. Physical activity releases endorphins, brain chemicals that relieve pain and stimulate relaxation, which is a key to managing stress at work. Low intensity cardio activity, like strolling or easy bike riding, is just as effective at helping you relax as high intensity work-outs, so don’t worry about your heart rate or breaking a sweat. Just breathe and enjoy the fresh air.
2. Practice yoga
I like to start my days with a 20 minute yoga practice, especially when I know the day ahead is going to a tough one. It helps to take responsibility for managing stress at work outside of work too. I use yogadownload.com and choose a low-intensity practice that I can do in my pajamas. My current favorite: Rise and Shine Yoga with Elise Fabricant. You can stream it for free!
3. Meditate and breathe
After my morning yoga practice, I meditate for 10 minutes. I like to use the Dharma Meditation Trainer with the chimes on. It’s not a lot of time, but it’s enough to keep my meditating muscle in shape. Learning how to breathe, clear my head and calm myself down is the best trick for managing stressful situations and helping lower your blood pressure.
4. Eat well
Does what you eat help with managing stress at work? I believe so. When I’m stressed, I crave macaroni and cheese and other comfort foods at every meal. I think that’s okay, but preparing a good balanced lunch for myself reminds me that I care about myself and my health. Which vitamins/nutrients are helpful for reducing stress? Folic Acid (asparagus), vitamin B (avocado), antioxidants (blueberries), vitamins B2 and E (nuts), vitamin C (Cuties mandarin oranges), omega-3 (salmon), magnesium (spinach),
5. Keep my gratitude list nearby
I believe in the practice of reminding yourself of all the things you have to be thankful for on a daily basis with a gratitude list. I keep this list nearby and glance at it when I feel the world on my shoulders. It reminds me that there’s a lot more to my life than whatever I’m dealing with at the moment, which keeps me feeling positive. And, yep, there’s an app for that!
That’s my list. What did I miss? What are your tricks for managing stress at work? Please share in the comments below.
Also, see Well + Good’s 14 Deskside Remedies for Freak-Outs at Work for more for more “in the moment” strategies for managing stress at work.