How to reduce stress at work – 10 Simple Tips

11 August 2021

Feeling stressed at work is a common thing that we all feel from time to time, but it is important to keep this in check. In fact, stress is the main cause of physical illness with over 25 working days lost per person annually in the UK. This is why minimising stress is important, to keep your physical and mental health in check, and to boost your happiness in the workplace. So in this blog we will give you some simple ways that you can reduce stress at work!

1. Identify your stressors

Firstly to reduce stress, it is important to identify exactly what your stressors are. Some may be obvious, but some you may not have really noticed. You should try keeping a journal for a week or two, writing down anything that made you feel stressed or tense. Make sure to accurately record details about the situations and people that caused stress. After identifying your stressors, you should consider if there are ways to avoid or resolve these in the future.

2. Plan out your tasks

One major cause of stress at work are deadlines. Make sure to plan and prioritise your tasks in advance so that you minimise stress. You should prioritise your tasks in order of urgency – to make sure you get them done and you aren’t rushing at the last minute. And be sure to only focus on one task at a time, moving onto the next one only after you have completed it. This will help you maintain a clear focus and stop you getting muddled. You may also find it useful to break tasks down into smaller pieces – ticking them off as you go. This will help make things feel more doable and less overwhelming. You may find something like a paper or wall planner helpful.

3. Exercise

Going on a brisk walk during your breaks are a great way to get away from your desk and reduce stress. If you aren’t able to get outside, you can do some simple stretches, or take the stairs instead of the lift. Ideally you should try to get in 30 minutes of exercise per day. If you are able to you could also consider a sit-stand desk that can be height adjusted. Sitting down at your desk all day is bad for your health, so having standing periods helps to activate your leg muscles and burn more calories.

4. Practice mindfulness

This one may feel a bit odd if you have never tried it before, but practicing mindfulness is a great way to reduce stress at work. If you are a beginner, there are many different meditation apps you can download. These are great to use on your commute, or during breaks. You can also take a few minutes to try simple breathing exercises. Mindful yoga is also a great thing to try, which combines mindfulness practice with yoga exercises. This is a great form of meditative exercise that aims to reduce stress.

5. Adopt healthy eating habits

It’s no secret that the things you eat have an impact on how you feel, this includes stress. Eating smaller, healthy meals regularly helps to maintain blood sugar levels, preventing tiredness and mood swings. You should try to reduce your intake of sugars and refined carbs and make healthier choices. When we are stressed our brain releases a hormone called cortisol which makes us crave sugary, fattening foods, however these comfort foods will cause lethargy and lead to a crash in mood. You can read our blog post here where we highlight some healthy packed lunch ideas. It is also a good idea to avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine as these can cause anxiety. And of course remember to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated! You should consider taking a reusable bottle with you to work.

6. Set boundaries between your work and home life

It is important to set a boundary between your work life and your home life, so that you can properly switch off and relax. Having this relax time is vital to reducing work stress. You should try to avoid taking your work laptop home with you, and refrain from checking your emails outside of work hours. If you work from home, you should create boundaries by having a dedicated workspace which you can walk away from at the end of the working day.

7. Get into a good sleeping routine

Getting enough sleep is essential to your wellbeing, and allows you to be more productive, focussed and relaxed. Try to aim for 8 hours of sleep per night – as this is optimal for performing your best. Getting into a routine is also helpful – making sure you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This should include weekends too if you can, or at least ensure you are not sleeping in too late which will knock you off track. Before bedtime you should avoid stress and do relaxing activities, such as reading a book. You should also avoid looking at screens for one hour before bed as these can disrupt your sleep.

8. Surround yourself with greenery

Adding some plants to your workspace is another simple way to reduce stress. Having nature around us has a calming effect and helps us to relax. A Japanese study instructed office workers to take a 3 minute break when they felt fatigued, using this break to tend to and gaze at a desk plant. Over four weeks, 27% of participants experienced a significant drop in their pulse rate, which is a good stress indicator.

9. Reach out to others

If you are finding yourself under a lot of stress, it is important to reach out to others. Voicing your stresses is a great way of letting off steam. Colleagues can be a great support network, as they may be able to help you and understand where you are coming from. You should also voice your stresses to your family and friends outside of work so that they can support you. Try not to become isolated and arrange fun activities with your family and friends in your free time.

10. Don’t be so hard on yourself

Stress can often stem from us not meeting our own expectations. But sometimes our expectations for ourselves are simply too high. Try not to be too much of a perfectionist and recognise that perfect can sometimes be the enemy of good. And know that making mistakes is normal, and they provide opportunity for learning. So instead of punishing yourself, make notes on how you can improve and avoid making the same mistake in the future.

We hope that you have found this blog on how to reduce stress at work helpful! If you are working remotely be sure to check out our other blog post here where we discuss 10 ways to stay healthy whilst working from home. And let us know in the comments if you have any stress reducing tips that you would like to share!

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