Work can be stressful. The phone never stops ringing. Your coworker across the hall never stops talking. There's always too much to do, and too little time.
While moderate levels of stress can be a good motivator, excessive stress can interfere with your productivity… not to mention take a toll on your physical and emotional health.
You can't control everything in your work environment, but there are a few simple things you can do to improve your well being.
1. Stop Multitasking
If you ever feel like you're being pulled in too many directions, maybe you are. When you feel the anxiety heightening, focus on completing one task at a time. Close all the web browsers, windows, and applications except the ones you need. Close your email and turn off the phone ringer. Focus on getting one or two things done and then log back on and power through any messages you may have missed.
2. Get Some Sun
When you're working indoors in the same office all day long, it's easy to lose perspective and that email from your boss or missing file can feel like the end of the world. But a few minutes outdoors can give you a whole new perspective-- things won't seem quite so bad.
Sunlight has been scientifically proven to make you happier. Your serotonin levels increase when you're exposed to bright light, that's why moods are typically better in the summer. Throughout the workday, spend your coffee or lunch breaks outdoors in a sunny spot. Or, take a quick walk outdoors if you find your stress starting to rise.
3. Clear Your Workspace
It's hard not to feel over-extended when your desk has stacks upon stacks of papers, files, and sticky notes all vying for your attention. Experts say to start and end each day with a pristine work surface. I'm not quite there myself, but I do try to be mindful of keeping the clutter down.
4. Go Green
Keeping a plant in your office or cubicle can reduce stress, improve your overall well-being, and even reduce blood pressure levels. A study conducted by Washington State University found that participants in a college computer lab with plants had quicker reaction times, were less stressed, and felt more attentive than their counterparts without any green companions.
5. Sip Green Tea
Green tea (the second most widely consumed beverage in the world after water) has loads of health benefits, including reducing stress. A large-scale study in Japan linking green tea to stress reduction was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which calms you and helps you maintain clear focus. Green tea has just a modest amount of caffeine and is gentler on the body than coffee.
6. Get Moving
No matter how hectic your schedule, make time for exercise. A good workout helps you release stress, maintain a routine, and think without interruption. Physical activity helps your body pump out more of those feel-good neurotransmitters, known as endorphins, to keep your mood up even in when days get a little tough. Even President Obama faithfully hits the gym, relying on exercise as his life intensifies.
The route to balancing stress is different for everyone; the key is knowing what works for you.
What do you do to keep calm and stay sane in the workplace?
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