Stress is a huge factor in many of our lives and I certainly suffer from it myself from time to time. Between work, children, running the house and umpteen other factors thrown in, life in the 21st century can be quite a stressful one.
We often talk about the need to take time out and relaxing and this has become more important than ever, as we know that increased stress levels have a direct link to an increase in health problems. Of course, it’s much easier to do this when you are on holiday, having a long weekend away, or even just having a few days to yourself at home.
However, the reality is that we do have to live our hectic lives so we need to find ways to destress during our normal working day whether it's because of simply too much to do, or because an important deadline is looming and you just cannot concentrate. You know exercise will help but you just don't have the time right now. STOP!⛔ Here are my 5 top tips for what you can try to do to reduce stress levels at work or at home. 1. Look at a picture or a photo that will calm you. Maybe arrange your office/home to have pictures that will relax you when you look at them. 2. Visualisation. Visualise that you have completed your deadline and you are on the home stretch. Having that thought in your mind can calm you down just enough to focus on the task in hand and to complete it. 3. Walk away from your desk and grab a drink. Even if it is just a short 5-minute walk, exercising just a little and rehydrating can be just enough to clear your mind.
4. Music. This could be listening to music you know will relax you, or what I tend to do is use background music to focus me when working on a difficult task. Find what soothes you not distracts you.
5. Deep Breathing. I believe this is a powerful tool and one that is often underused. I am talking about big calming breathes that go right down into your diaphragm. A few of those and finding some peace for a few minutes can help you settle long enough to get on with the job in hand. Do you think you could use any of these tips? Do you need to plan this into your day so you can avoid stress as much as you can?
I recently spoke to a HR Director and she mentioned that having regular breaks when you are actually away from your work really helps to keep your overall wellbeing in check (so make sure you take all your annual leave). But if something similar is not built into your working day it can have a really detrimental effect on your mind and your body.
Working relentlessly day in and day out is not sustainable. We get overloaded and get ill more often, but even then we still keep going.
So have a look at those tips again and see if you can create the most peaceful working atmosphere possible. It won’t go right every day but if you can get most days right you have a significant chance of reducing stress.