April is Stress Awareness Month, but you may have been too stressed to notice. The American Institute of Stress says the top cause of stress in the United States is job pressure. Co-worker tension, difficult bosses and work overload all contribute.
Stress doesn’t just leave you feeling frazzled. People cited physical symptoms like fatigue, headache and muscle tension. It churns up powerful emotions. A fourth of workers, 25 percent of Americans surveyed said they have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress.
If you’re one of the 80 percent of Americans feeling workplace stress, you don’t need more statistics. You need stress relief. Here are six suggestions you can implement today.
Start With a Healthy Meal
You can’t fix your boss. If you could work harder and faster you would be doing it already. What you can change is the way your body feels. Instead of bolting down coffee and a doughnut on your way to work, put good fuel in your body. Try yogurt and almonds or a few scrambled eggs. It’s tempting to reach for sugar throughout the day for the quick burst of energy, but that leads to an energy crash. Seek healthier options instead.
Mayo Clinic recommends exercise as an integral part of stress management. Working out releases endorphins so you feel better. It boosts your mood and helps you sleep better later.
People who are stressed report feeling fatigued and like they already have more to do than they can handle. Just the idea of exercise can seem overwhelming. Channel that feeling into physical activity. Use that negative energy and anxiety to fuel movement. Actually visualize your muscle cells burning your stress like tiny incinerators. It will absolutely make you feel better today.
Avoid Office Drama
Almost every workplace has people who like to stir things up. As much as it’s up to you, stay away from gossip and office politics. Getting involved creates stress you don’t need. Instead, work on building or strengthening relationships with people who are positive and encouraging.
Make Breaks Count
When you pause for a break, instead of mindless scrolling on your cell phone, spend time intentionally lowering your feelings of stress. Take a few deep breaths and when you exhale, imagine tension flowing out of your muscles as the breath leaves your lungs. A few times a day, look for opportunities to practice gratitude for a more positive outlook.
At lunchtime, set work aside and concentrate on actually tasting and enjoying your food. When you take a coffee break, pause to appreciate the aroma and flavor of the coffee.
Go to Bed Early
Sleep deprivation increases your risk of chronic health conditions, and it makes you feel sluggish and unmotivated. You get less done, which creates stress. Then you lose sleep worrying about what you didn’t accomplish. It becomes a cycle where eventually you’re not sure if you’re stressed because of lost sleep or losing sleep because you’re stressed.
This afternoon, resist the urge to reach for coffee. In the evening, put away electronics for at least two hours before you intend to sleep. The blue screen light suppresses melatonin, a hormone your body produces to make you feel sleepy. Put work away well before bedtime and just sleep. The next day you’ll be more refreshed less likely to let small stressors get to you.
Apply for a Job You’ll Love
If work stress feels like it’s ruining your life, it may be time for a job change. Take a step in the right direction by browsing our online job postings. If you see one that looks like a good fit, you can apply right there on the job posting page.