How to: De–stress at Work

The last few weeks at work have been in a word, stressful. A lot of changes have come down the pipeline and my team is trying to handle it all in stride. Last week in particular was filled to the brim with challenges, and somehow in a matter of hours I became a little ball of stress. It wasn’t until I got home that I began to slowly feel the stress melt away.

boldI’ll admit, I have never been great at handling stress. I think it was easier in college when I could walk across the quad or down the hall to a friend’s room. Taking a few minutes to get away from the papers, exams, or extracurricular work was often all I needed to gain a little perspective. At work it isn’t quite as easy to find a “sit on the quad and watch the sunset” moment. That being said, I think I’ve found a few ways to help manage my stress.

  1. Walk Away – Going off my trick from college, taking a walk outside or simply to the coffee machine can do wonders. It clears your head a bit and also allows you to avoid the dozens of emails pouring in for a few minutes.
  2. Just breathe – So simple, but something I am not always mindful of when I feel the stress start to overwhelm me. Stopping for a few minutes to focus simply on your breathing can make a world of difference. There are a variety of techniques you can try to find the best fit for you.
  3. Wake up earlier – The most stressful days I have at work are when I am stressed before I even reached my desk. Running late, weaving in and out of slow walking New Yorkers, and reaching my desk minutes before my first meeting doesn’t make for a calm day. Waking up a few minutes earlier gives me time to grab a cup of coffee and go through my emails before the madness of the day sets in.
  4. Snacks – I am one of those people who sometimes forgets to eat when I am stressed. I bounce from one meeting to the other, and suddenly it’s 4pm and I haven’t had lunch. That makes for not only a stressed out Allison, but also a really cranky one too. Keeping healthy snack options nearby makes this step easy and keeps hangry at bay. I also recommend eating snacks away from your desk, find somewhere quiet for a few minutes of peace.
  5. Take your lunch break – Going off the last tip, actually take your lunch break! I know it isn’t always easy to get away for an hour, especially when you are in back to back meetings all day. However, it is so important to go out and grab lunch or simply step away from your desk for even 30 minutes. It is a necessary mental break that will recharge you enough to power through the rest of the afternoon.
  6. Music – Create a playlist of your favorite songs to always have on hand! Sometimes when people keep stopping by my desk and asking me questions, (and as a result breaking my train of thought!) I plug in my headphones to block out the distractions. I always opt for Country music because my Pandora playlist has become the perfect balance of calm and upbeat music. My all time favorite songs these days are Thomas Rhett’s Crash & Burn or Make Me Wanna, I am seriously addicted.
  7. Stretch – Get up and move around every half hour! I have been working on my posture at work and it has made a world of difference. Simply standing up and stretching your shoulders and back can help elevate those stressed muscles.
  8. Add some green I’ve already mastered this tip…have plants at your desk! Studies have shown that keeping plants at your desk can help reduce stress. I keep an ivy plant and a small bamboo plant on either side of my computer. I love these touches of nature, because it makes my desk feel like a happier place to work.
  9. Say No – This is more of a life lesson, but sometimes you just have to say “no”. I am the kind of person who will always take on different projects and tasks, and don’t always realize that I can’t handle it all until I am overwhelmed. I need to remember that sometimes it is okay to say “no” and push back. Stop adding to your stress by taking on things you cannot handle. It is better to reach out to your team for help or to better delegate the work. This will help to elevate mounting amounts of stress.

I hope these tips help you deal with the stress in your own life! Any helpful tips I should add into my own routine?

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