How to Cope With Office Stress

April 18, 2014

Stress at work is one of the biggest causes of long-term employee absences, leading to money lost and a significant drop in productivity. Not only does office stress negatively affect workplace happiness and productivity, but also our quality of life elsewhere. To continue with National Stress Awareness month, we’ve put together a few tips on how to cope with stress at the office.

You can first start to manage office stress by getting your body back in shape. It’s no surprise that stress affects both the mind and takes a toll on our physical health. To begin to cope with stress, eat healthy foods like green vegetables and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, like flax seeds. Skip the greasy hamburger for a grilled salmon salad and watch your mood lift in the afternoon.

Of course, don’t forget to exercise regularly and move as often as possible during the workday. Make sure to stand for at least thirty minutes every hour, or take short breaks to stretch and walk around the office. At the end of the day, head to bed early. Office stress is only intensified by sleep-deprived minds, so shoot for 7-8 solid hours each night.

Another option to deal with office stress is to make your workspace feel more like home. Bring in family photos or small nick-knacks to place on your desktop. Add a few plants to spruce up the environment and help you relax.

According to the Huffington Post, hospital patients with indoor plants reported having lower stress levels than patience without them. Of course your office isn’t a hospital room, but plants will have the same effect nonetheless!

Although it may seem impossible, it’s important to learn how to say no. Taking on more than you can handle can leave you overextended, overworked, and overstressed. If you feel a project is starting to be more than you can handle and someone asks you take on just one more thing, calmly but firmly say no. Then you’ll have more time to focus on producing quality work on time.

Being glued to your desk for hours on end really does have an effect on your stress levels. So with that in mind, schedule a portion of your day that’s just dedicated to you. If you don’t have time for a full lunch break, try to carve out at least 20 minutes to walk around the block, read or sit outside. But the main thing to remember is to get out of the office for at least a little while. You’d be surprised how far a little sunshine can go in relieving office stress.

To follow up with getting out of the office, make it a field trip and bring a few coworkers along. Spend time together not talking about impending deadlines and projects, but instead try to get to know each other. Having quality social time allows you to unplug for a bit and relax your mind.

Office stress will never fully be eliminated, but there are tools to help you manage it that can lead to fulfilling, long-lasting careers. How do you cope with stress at the office?

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