Written by Jade Macbeth
While stress may be an inevitable part of working life and we may not be able to avoid it, there are some things we implement to help ensure it doesn’t take control of our lives.
1. Plan and manage your time
I start out each day by making a to-do list to work off. I find putting even the smallest, most mundane of tasks on my list is the best way to go. Once I start to see things being crossed off (big or small), I feel like I’ve already accomplished something and feel compelled to continue being productive throughout the day.
Tidy up! Nothing makes me feel less productive than a messy space. Keep things orderly, and everything becomes easier to keep track of. Not to mention being surrounded by piles of paper and post-its in every direction makes you feel like you have triple the amount of work to do. Set up a system where everything has a place and know you won’t miss anything because it’s all written out on your to-do list!!
This goes for inbox management too! I move all emails I have actioned into a “completed emails” folder so that my inbox contains only emails which have yet to be dealt with. This means my inbox itself starts to work more like a to-do list and nothing slips through the cracks. I aim to have a completely empty inbox by the time I leave each day. If I can’t manage that, I have a to-do list already waiting for me in the morning!
3. Ask for help
When you’re dealing with time-sensitive work, or you’re overloaded with conflicting priorities, it can feel impossible to get on top of things. One of the most important thing to remember about feeling stressed at work is that it isn’t productive for anyone. Put your hand up and ask for help if you feel you have too much on your plate. Maybe there’s somebody else who could take on a task for you, or somebody who could help you align priorities and time-frames to take the immediate pressure off.
4. Make time for yourself
Even if you can only manage 15 minutes during certain work days, step away from that desk! Get outside, grab a coffee, eat your food at the cafe instead of rushing back to eat it at your computer. Not only are there serious physical health risks associated with sitting at your desk too long, it’s good for your mental health to check out for a moment. Give yourself a second to switch off and you’ll thank yourself, trust me!
5. Stay hydrated
It sounds poncy, I know. But the wonders water works for your body and your mind are incredible. When I started taking more care with the amount of water I was drinking each day, the difference it made to my life was truly astounding. Staying hydrated keeps your mind sharp, it keeps your energy levels up and generally helps you to stay feeling good physically.
6. Develop routines
Take the time to develop a night-time and a morning routine that makes you feel relaxed. Preventing stress doesn’t have to occur only in the workplace, and pampering yourself shouldn’t be reserved only for special occasions. A relaxing evening, paired with an hour spent in the morning that makes you feel good can make all the difference to your day. I started by waking up 30 minutes earlier than I used to and making sure I got the following done each morning before leaving for work; one thing I don’t want to do, one thing I do want to do and one thing my body wants me to do. For example, this morning I tidied my room, finished a chapter of the book I’m reading and took 10 minutes to do some stretching. The thing that really changed mornings for me was getting something I don’t want to do out of the way. You’d be surprised what a difference it makes when you get home from work knowing you don’t have to worry about that load of washing, or doing those dishes, because you did it this morning!!
Check out Team Majer’s morning routines here!
7. Sleep, sleep and more sleep!!
We’re all starting to sound like broken records, but really guys, sleep is the most important part of de-stressing. If you’re well rested, you’re naturally less inclined to wind up so tightly, so quickly. So get those Zzzz’s!!
8. Stay away from the tech
It’s so tempting to roll over, turn off your alarm and start looking through Instagram or Facebook, but it really does make a difference to stay away from the tech, at least first thing in the morning. Get out of bed, have a coffee, get something done, do some meditation, read a book, sit and be present while you eat your breakfast. There are so many things you can do that don’t involve technology. I’m not saying you should throw your phone out the window, but give yourself and your mind a break! Start by waiting at least half an hour after you get up in the morning. I did, and I feel great! Plus, I get so much more done when I don’t lose 20 minutes in the morning mindlessly scrolling through my news feed.
9. Make time to exercise
Taking care of your body is so important. Not only will you feel the physical effects quicker than you might think, just knowing that you’re putting time and effort into taking care of your body will improve your mental health. Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands! (If you haven’t seen Legally Blonde, please do so immediately).
10. Talk to someone
If the stress in your life has reached an unmanageable level, reach out to someone – family, a friend, your boss, a colleague or a mental health professional. High stress-levels can have a huge impact on both your mental and physical health so don’t let it take over your life. So speak up! It’s okay to need help sometimes to keep your head above the water.