While a significant part of workplace stress arises from circumstances that cannot always be controlled, there are steps we can take to ensure a more relaxing day. Here’s a few to consider throughout your day.
- Alter your physical environment. Make your environment as easygoing as possible. Pay attention to lighting, air quality and pleasing colors.
- Tackle excess noise. Decide how much noise you’re comfortable with and take steps to reduce or eliminate unwanted distractions. Reducing background or open-office noise can help soothe frazzled nerves and reduce levels of stress hormones in the body.
- Reduce caffeine intake, which can send stress levels soaring. If you cannot eliminate caffeine, try alternating caffeinated beverages with mineral water or decaffeinated tea.
- Consider your surroundings. Read up on ergonomic principles for the workplace. Chair angle, keyboard position, lighting and seat cushions all can be significant contributors to elevated office stress levels.
- Allow time for fresh air. If opening a window is not a possibility, take at least part of a lunch break outdoors.
- Learn desk exercises that can help relieve stiff muscles and improve circulation. There are many exercises that can be done right at your desk to help alleviate stress, as well as desktop yoga programs.
- Try power napping. A brief 10-minute rest during a post-lunch slump can improve mood and productivity.
- Don’t become a slave to e-mail. It is easy to fall victim to the trap of constant checking and responding to e-mail, often to the detriment of our own productivity levels.
- Don’t go hungry. Skipping meals can lead to after-work binges and overdoses of fast food when energy levels plummet. Keep yourself nourished, and don’t wait for hunger pangs.