It is easy to let a full workload get the better of you. That’s why it’s really important to stop stress getting on top of you by taking care of your physical and mental wellbeing, and to support your people to do the same.
One of the best ways to manage stress is to take control of the situation and actively seek out solutions. Remaining passive and believing there’s nothing you can do about your situation only makes stress worse. Below are some tips to help you manage your stress.
Keeping physically well
People handle stress better when they’re as physically healthy as possible, so find ways to encourage people in your workplace to take these tips on board:
- Take a quick walk in your lunch break. Regular exercise can help you unwind and alleviate tension, and it also reduces anxiety. You don’t have to commit to long sweat sessions, either – even a 15-minute walk around the block can be beneficial in helping to settle your mind.
- Make quality sleep a priority. Poor sleep can cause irritability and stress, while getting enough sleep will enhance your wellbeing. Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the hours before bed as these will both affect sleep quality. Reading in bed (from paper, not a screen) can be a relaxing way to fully unwind and prepare for a deep sleep.
- Eat a diverse, healthy diet. Take care of yourself and support your mental wellbeing by eating a diet rich in plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and wholegrains.
Limit, or avoid, smoking, alcohol and drugs. They not only don’t alleviate stress, they can make it harder to deal with.
Managing your time
Being well-organised can help you manage stress. These tips might be helpful for both you and your team:
- Map out your day, segment by segment, allocating time to specific tasks
- Try listing your tasks in order of priority, and tackle the most difficult ones first thing in the morning when your mind is fresh
- Ask others to take over tasks at home or work if you have too much to cope with
- Make sure you always take a lunch break and try to leave work on time
- When you leave the office, check out completely by resisting the urge to answer work emails at home (unless you need to be on call).
Looking after your mind is known to have stress-beating effects. Try these techniques:
- Spend time with people who make you feel uplifted. Talk through problems with people you trust, to help you get a fresh perspective and find solutions.
- Try yoga, meditation or tai chi. These are known to be valuable stress-management tools. Learning a deep breathing technique might be handy to use at work in times of stress.
- Allocate time outside of work to nurture yourself. You might like to indulge in a massage, a nap or do something you love such as listening to music. Start by setting aside two nights a week for ‘me time’.
- Look for the positives. Gratitude exercises, such as writing down three things you’re grateful for each day, can help you remain optimistic about your situation.
- Work at accepting the things that are beyond your control. You might not, for example, ever be able to get your inbox totally empty, nor can you control decisions made by senior management in your company.
- If you’re struggling to cope, ask for help from your loved ones, manager or GP.
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