If you’ve held a job then chances are you have, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. In the short-term, stress, can in-fact help performance as your challenge response to the situation gives you an energy surge and boosts your ability to perform under pressure. In the long-term, however, stress can have a greater impact on your ability to perform, and, it can even become a hazard in the workplace.
Whatever your work demands, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from your stress reaching unmanageable levels and help your overall job satisfaction.
Aerobic exercise has mood boosting properties, so if you find the time before and after work a struggle of priorities then try to get out during the lunch break. The endorphin release following exercise is well documented, with it being capable of improving overall mood and helping get your mind off stressful thoughts. The experts say 30 minutes of activity a day is optimal, so try to schedule your day with exercise a priority.
The old saying goes, we are what we eat, and as such it is important to fuel our body and brains with energy that will support concentration and focus. Did you know that omega-3 Fatty acids can help support brain function and reduce depression symptoms? Why not try adding some walnuts to your afternoon snack instead of turning to the sweets during the afternoon slump. Many people find eliminating or reducing alcohol and caffeine intake from their lifestyle can in fact improve concentration and leave you feeling less vulnerable to the impact of stress.
Here is where both quality and quantity count. Establish good sleep hygiene with going to bed at the same time each night and aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep, your body will get used to the schedule and be telling you when it’s bedtime. Turn off screens one hour before you go to bed, we all love to watch some TV or scroll the internet before we fall asleep but the screens keep our brain engaged and make it difficult when trying to fall asleep. Create a calm positive environment and keep those lights low in the lead up to bedtime. Achieving appropriate levels of sleep helps our overall coping mechanisms and can have huge affects on mental health.
Schedule your day – Prioritise
Staying organised and planning ahead will greatly decrease your stress at work and help with efficiency. Create the to do list, set your deadlines and prioritise those goals. Our top tip, put time in your calendar to sort through emails, this important task can often be left behind as your day fills up with more pressing important matters. However, a full inbox can only lead to you feeling more overwhelmed, scheduling time specifically for sorting through your inbox and taking action on each item will help you feel accomplished and remove another stressor.
Set up your workspace
Ensuring your workspace is set up properly for you and the functions of your role. If you are motivated by quotes or pictures of family then use your space to create a positive and productive space. Ensure you are comfortable with the set up and seek guidance from those in your workplace who are familiar with OH&S standards. If you feel happy and comfortable you will be less likely to feel overwhelmed by the little stressors.
Talk to your HR team, supervisor or colleagues about your workplace stressors. Depending on your line of work you may need to consider seeing a professional to help guide you on coping mechanisms. Remember, you wouldn’t try to run on a sprained ankle. Our headspace is just another part of our bodies we need to ensure functions at its optimal and having the right support team in place is vital to our success.
Reset your headspace
Changing the way you see stress and pressure in the workplace can make a big difference to your overall mental health. Putting the stressors into perspective and looking at the big picture can make the world of difference. Take a deep breath and try to be subjective and stay positive.
If you are feeling like your stress has become out of control and is affecting you negatively why not make the call to the people who know best, 24/7 support is available at Beyond Blue.