12 Ways to Reduce Stress at Work

Sent to you by Rajiv via Google Reader:

Is your workplace a constant source of stress for you?

With many so-called ‘labour saving’ products and services available to us these days, it seems surprising that our workload continues to increase, further adding to our stress levels.

Think of it, our work was supposed to be made easier by voice mail, fax machines, cell phones and email? But, most of us find we are constantly on-call, frequently interrupted, and overwhelmed with communications which people expect to receive immediate responses to.

On top of an already heavy workload, the consequence can be stress, burnout, and even illness.

So, how can you reduce stress at work? Here are 12 suggestions:

#1 Find a job you love

Are you happy in your current job? You probably spend a good portion of your waking hours at work, so it should be something you enjoy.

Having a job you enjoy can make a huge difference to how you feel in all areas of life, and if you’re not happy at work, chances are you’ll not be happy outside of work.

Ask yourself what you like and don’t like about your job? How can you go about changing the things you’re not happy with?

#2 Be on time

I used to struggle with being on time for work. But, the fact is, being late makes us look unprofessional.

If you have trouble getting away from home on time in the morning, make a real effort to get up a few minutes earlier each morning.

You should also lay your clothes out the night before so you’re not wasting time wondering what to wear. Also, if you bring your lunch to work, try preparing it the night before to save time in the morning.

#3 Personalise your workspace

If you spend many hours at work, it’s worthwhile creating a pleasant happy place at your desk.

Try putting up pictures of your family, keep a couple of plants on your desk, and accessorise your space with colourful files, equipment and trays. These small changes can make a big difference to how you feel.

#4 Keep your desk tidy

If your desk is in chaos, chances are you’ll find it difficult to complete even the simplest of tasks. But, having a tidy desk will help you work more efficiently because you’ll know where everything is.

Take a few minutes at the end of each day to file and tidy up. This will help you to be in a much better frame of mind when you get into work the following day.

#5 Relax and breathe deeply

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload or your colleagues, use deep breathing techniques to help you stay calm and in control.

This should help to ease tension, causing you to feel more relaxed almost instantly.

#6 Delegate tasks

Sometimes we simply have more work than we can handle. It’s good to remember there really is no shame in asking for help if you truly need it.

One of the easiest ways to reduce your work stress and be happier at work is to delegate a few of your smaller tasks to others.

Try making a list of everything you do in one day, then decide what you need to tackle personally, and what you can allow others to do for you.

With fewer things to clutter up your day you’ll be better able to concentrate on the more important parts of your job.

#7 Control interruptions

It can be really nice to receive an email from a friend to break the monotony of the day, but it’s easy to get distracted from your work, and while it’s pretty much impossible to eliminate all interruptions, you should do your best to control them.

Try setting aside blocks of time where you don’t allow yourself to check email, take calls, or see clients. This way you can complete your work with fewer interruptions, and as a result get more done is less time.

#8 Learn to say “no!”

Saying no to your boss or your colleagues can be difficult at times. But, sometimes it’s necessary to help you keep your sanity.

If you’re too busy or already have other commitments it’s absolutely fine to say no, remember you don’t have to, nor is it possible to please everyone.

#9 Be friendly

For most people having a few friends at work can make going to work less of a chore.

This is particularly true if work stress is getting to you, because simply having someone to talk it over with will be a huge help in reducing the anxiety.

#10 Get some fresh air

Sitting at your desk constantly throughout the day, and particularly at lunchtime, is enough to make your stress levels higher than normal.

So, instead of sitting desk-bound on your lunch break go for a brisk walk outside to help reduce stress at work and get in some physical activity.

#11 Keep healthy treats in your desk

Eating unhealthy food at work can quickly sabotage an otherwise healthy diet.

Try keeping some whole nuts or fresh fruit at your desk to snack on throughout the day. This will give you the energy you need, and prevent unhealthy highs and lows in your blood sugar levels, which can lead to stress.

#12 Work around your energy levels

If you usually get the post-lunch slump don’t schedule important meetings, or your most difficult tasks at this time of day.

Instead work with your body’s natural energy highs. This will help you to be more productive, and reduce the amount of stress you feel at work.

If you are consistently low on energy following your lunch break, think about what you’ve been eating, as this may be the cause.

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