Chances are that already today you have bare witness to the adverts, and articles, and tweets, and headlines that day after day tell us the same story: we are all getting too stressed at work.
And this stress isnt just keeping us reaching the perfect 8 hours of sleep, or preventing us having the clear skin that we all crave. It’s affecting, well, everything. In 2016 alone, we lost 12.5 million days to work-related stress and depression here in the UK. The question is: are you a part of the ranks?
Even if your stress at work is sparked from the small stuff – whether you’re anxious about thatpresentation, or you’re trying to recover from an intense meeting – it can pile up and quickly take us in one tidal wave of despair.
So here we end up: depressed, anxious… just overwhelmed.
But rather than hiding in fear from the inevitable, learn how to accept your stress, and process it in a healthy way. Bottling it up and leaving it on a shelf does no one any good.
This is how you can avoid getting overwhelmed at work.
Make the healthier options
Typically, a fast food snack or associated sweet treat is the easy fix for those difficult days. But instead of ordering in, try the harder option. Eva Selhub, a Harvard Medical Professor – claims that what we eat ‘directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your mood’.
So when we reach for that comforting, rather spruced up cup of coffee with all of the extras, it might not leave us feeling any better than we did when we took the first sip.
Aside from trying to get your five a day, focus on getting a workout in as well. Sure, when your week isn’t going your way, heading over to a yoga class, or heaving yourself onto a spinning bike isn’t at the top of our to-do list. However, lying in a dark room and pretending that you’re coping won’t do you any better. Exercise is a foolproof stress-buster, and by making that time for yourself, you can find some much needed peace. Maybe with a little heavy breathing disturbing the silence.
Build up your boundaries
The internet has given us many a wonderful thing. We can find the answers to our problems in seconds, we can listen to our favourite album anytime of the day, and we can binge watch our favourite shows whenever we are in need.
But it’s precisely this sense of being constantly connected that can be quite so detrimental to ourselves mentally and emotionally. We are available 24 hours a day, every day. So, can we ever really catch a break?
When you leave work, really leave work. Don’t let yourself check emails every thirty minutes, or answer the phone during dinner or other related time for yourself. Either way, put the rules in place, and leave the stress chained to the desk.
Thanks to that work experience from when we were 16, we can just about sort out a ring binder. But it turns out that those skills can be applied to your life in a much greater way than just sticking it on your CV.
If you’re rushing in the morning (yes, if you typically have a piece of toast in your mouth and are pulling on your tights), the rest of your day will follow suit. But if you start the day prepared and armed with a plan, you can stay on top of your work, and any extra obstacles that crop up on the way.
…And get mindful
We all know that meditation is the best way for kicking back at the end of a hard-working day. And mindfulness does the same thing, but it also lets you observe your thoughts. You can process what is stressing you out, and move past it.
Simple breathing techniques are a go-to for reducing stress, and you can practice them just about anywhere! Take it from Marlynn Wei, who knows what she’s talking about as a Harvard and Yale-trained psychiatrist. Wei is a firm believer in the value of a nifty portable strategy worth a few minutes of simple, rhythmic breathing.
Whenever it feels as if it’s all getting that bit too much, take a few deep breathes, and find the perfect technique for you. Find those few minutes for yourself, and relax.
Last of all – be honest with yourself, and your employer
It may not always feel like it, but your employer has a duty of care for your mental wellbeing. Opening a dialogue and admitting that you don’t feel as if you are coping can fix the problem at the root.
Accepting that you aren’t 100% okay with both yourself, and your supervisor, is the most explicit method of confronting and processing your stress.
So sure, we can learn how to reduce stress, but this doesn’t stop what’s keeping you in constant need of that release.
Considering how to reduce your stress, from downloading meditation apps to booking more yoga classes than usual might not just be a sign that you need more time for yourself, but that you are stretching yourself too thin.
It might seem a simple word, but saying ‘no’ to a rising list of demands serves you the control that you don’t just need, but deserve. The word says what it does on the tin; if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you are taking too much on.