The workplace is one of the top sources of stress in the average person’s life. According to a 2009 study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), a staggering 69% of employees in the U.S. say work is a “significant source of stress,” and 41% say they are tense throughout the workday. If you constantly feel stressed at work, try some of the following tips to create a more tranquil and relaxing work environment.
#1) Stay Active
Staying active while while on the job is a safe and effective way to reduce stress levels. Workers who are forced to sit in front of a computer for eight or more hours a day are more likely to suffer from stress. By staying active, you’ll promote the release of “happy chemicals” in your body known as endorphins. Whether it’s walking around the office for 5 minutes, standing up and stretching, or taking a moment to walk outside, try to break up your work day with intervals of physical activity.
#2) Take a Vacation
A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive and Glassdoor found that only 25% of American workers use all of their paid vacation days (source). America is known for being an overworked country with minimal vacation time, and this survey reaffirms this belief. By taking a vacation – whether it’s paid or not – you’ll refresh both your body and mind while reducing stress levels.
#3) Reinforce Your Job Position
To reduce work-related stress, you must first identify its root cause. One of the most common causes of work-related stress is fear of being fired or laid off. By reinforcing your job position (e.g. improving productivity), you can reduce the risk of this happening and subsequently enjoy a more relaxing, stress-free workplace.
#4) Take Slow, Deep Breaths
Arguably, one of the easiest and fastest ways to reduce stress is to perform a set of breathing exercises. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or otherwise stressed out while at work, stop what you are doing, close your eyes, and take slow, deep breaths. After inhaling, hold it for five full seconds and release. Continue doing this for a full minute and you should notice an improvement in your stress levels, especially if practiced over time.
#5) Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep (or lack thereof) and stress go hand in hand. Workers who fail to get a good’s night sleep are more likely to experience stress the following day. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) originally recommended eight hours of sleep per night for adults, but this was recently changed to seven hours for adults.
#6) Eat Right
When you’re busy worrying about your job task, making it to work on time, and other responsibilities related to your profession, you might overlook the importance of eating right. After all, it’s easier and more convenient to pick up fast food for lunch rather than pack your own lunch. But eating processed fast food that’s high in sugar, sodium and fat will only bog you down, both mentally and physically. Try packing your lunch during the week to see what kind of effect it has on your stress levels.