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01 Sep 2016

5 steps to reduce workplace stress

With 43% of all working days lost to stress, it’s important to identify coping techniques that will actually reduce workplace stress.

1. Initiate positive relationships
Social contact is nature’s antidote to stress. Talking face to face with a good listener can help to quickly calm your nervous system and relieve stress.
Try to find a supportive and empathetic colleague or friend that you can talk to about your workplace issues. This will instantly help you let off steam and become more focused on work afterwards.
If you’re not comfortable with your colleagues, gradually try to socialise on your breaks instead of directing your attention to your phone or tablet as the more isolated and alone you feel, the more vulnerable you are to stress.

2. Exercise
Regular exercise is a powerful stress reliever, especially aerobic exercises like walking, dancing and swimming which can have a huge effect on your mood and focus.
For the best results, try to get at least 30 minutes of activity every day or if it’s easier to fit into your schedule, break up the activity into two or three shorter segments.
When stress is mounting at work, try to take a quick break away from the situation or perhaps even take a brief walk.

3. Prioritise & organise
When workplace stress threatens to overwhelm you, there are simple, practical steps you can take to regain control over the situation.
Firstly create a balanced schedule. All work and no play is bound to end in tears – instead try to find a balance between work and family life, social activities and solitary pursuits, daily responsibilities and downtime.
Secondly, set off earlier in the morning, minimising risk of arriving late and causing additional stress. Even 10-15 minutes can make the difference between frantically rushing and having time to ease into your day.
Lastly, plan regular breaks and stick to it. Make sure to take short breaks throughout the day to take a walk or chat to a friendly face.
Also try to get away from your desk or work station for lunch. It will help you relax and recharge and be more, not less, productive.

4. Break bad habits
Many of us worsen our stress levels with negative thoughts and behaviour. If you can get rid of perfectionism, negative thinking and trying to control the uncontrollable, workplace stress becomes a lot easier to deal with.

5. Look after yourself
It goes without saying that you should eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. But this is especially important when you’re looking to combat stress. Quite simply, avoid nicotine, alcohol, sugar, carbohydrates and processed food.
Consuming omega-3 – found in seafood, spinach, soybeans and walnuts – is a great way to boost your mood when you’re feeling under pressure at work.
If you’re finding it difficult to sleep at night, avoid stimulating or stressful situations before bed. Try turning off phones, TVs, tablets an hour before bed to improve your quality of sleep.
Having your eight hours, maintaining a healthy balanced diet and regularly exercising will put you in a better position to cope with stress.

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