Keeping busy is not only encouraged but also expected in today’s workplace. If you feel pressure to wear multiple hats in both your personal and professional life, you’re not alone. However, overexerting yourself can have serious consequences on your wellbeing. Learning how to reduce workplace stress is the best way to ensure you don’t feel too overwhelmed, no matter the time of the year.
Stress may be especially apparent toward the end of the year when you’re wrapping up projects and facing tight deadlines. At the same time, at home, your time is spent juggling family get-togethers, dinners, and everyday life. Given all of these responsibilities, it’s no wonder almost everyone feels more stressed around the holidays.
Getting through the busy season may be tough, but it’s not impossible. Here are six simple ways you can maintain balance and reduce stress at work during the holidays and beyond
Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
Everyone wants to excel in their career, but overworking yourself can lead to faster burnout and decrease productivity. That’s why it’s important to be honest with yourself and your colleagues about your work capacity.
With competing deadlines and responsibilities, it may not be possible to do it all. And that’s okay! Get comfortable with saying “no” when you don’t have enough time to take on additional tasks, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you have too much on your plate. You owe it to yourself to set personal boundaries.
If you’re unclear on or can’t complete everything that’s asked of you, schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss expectations so you’re both on the same page. Setting realistic goals for yourself, and communicating those goals with others, will help you to better manage your workload and avoid stressful situations.
Establish A Consistent Morning Routine
Your morning routine sets the tone for the rest of your day. While you may not have as much control over your day-to-day at work, you can start each day off right by eating a healthy breakfast, listing out your priorities, and indulging in a few moments of silence.
It may be tempting to check your inbox the moment you wake up. However, reading through work emails may stress you out and put you in a bad mood from the get-go. Do your best to strike a balance between your personal and professional lives. When you’re home, only focus on your personal life, and avoid checking your email until you’re in the office. This will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed, especially when your plate is already full.
Begin each morning by listing out your priorities to help you focus on what’s most important. To ease your mind, find a quiet setting where you can meditate or stretch. Taking time to be mindful will help give you a calmer, more positive outlook heading into work. Make sure to plan enough time to eat a balanced breakfast, get ready, and indulge in these activities. Once you master your morning routine, you’ll set yourself up to have a productive day.
Take Care of Your Body
You already know that excess stress can take a toll on your mental wellbeing, but did you know it can impact your physical health, too? As stress increases, your immune system may become less effective, leaving your more susceptible to illness. That’s why it’s important to prioritize your physical needs during times of stress.
Recognize symptoms of stress like headaches, changes in appetite, nausea, and low energy, and be sure to address them as soon as you notice something feels off. Listen to your body, and don’t push yourself past your limits. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, take a step back and tend to your mind and body.
You may also want to take extra steps to prevent and treat visible signs of stress, such as weight gain, acne, and hair loss. Tending to these symptoms may be as simple as adding an acne-clearing treatment to your morning routine or eating healthy foods to reduce stress. Everyone experiences stress differently, but understanding your individual needs will help ensure you maintain your health through the busiest times.
Get Enough Sleep
There’s a cyclical relationship between stress and sleep. While managing competing deadlines and multiple obligations, you may find yourself losing out on much-needed sleep. However, sleep deprivation can cause irritability, low energy levels, and heightened feelings of stress and anxiety.
Sleep is essential for recharging your brain and restoring your energy. No matter how packed your schedule may become, it’s important to commit to a consistent sleep schedule. Aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and make it a point to be in bed at the same time each night so you know you’re getting adequate rest.
If you feel overly-tense at night, make a conscious effort to relax before bed. Prepare yourself for sleep by practicing calming activities like yoga or meditation, and power down all devices to help you unwind. By sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, you’ll ensure you’re ready to take on the next day with full energy.
Focus On One Task at a Time
Many people believe that multitasking is the best way to get everything done at once, but research has proven that it can actual have long-term negative effects on brain function. Your brain isn’t wired to take on more than one task at a time, so why try to force it?
When you spread yourself too thin, you’re not able to give your full attention to the task at hand. That’s why those who multitask often have a harder time organizing their thoughts and tend to be less efficient in their work.
Whenever possible, try to focus solely on one project at a time. Doing so will allow you to improve productivity and the quality of your work. On the days that you need to multitask to get everything done, consider using the 20-minute rule. Rather than changing up your actions sporadically, try dedicating at least 20 minutes to each new task before switching to another.
Plan Out Your Breaks
You may feel the urge to fill every moment of your day with a productive activity, but you don’t have to. Breaks are not only recommended but also necessary for your mental and physical wellbeing, so be sure to take advantage of any downtime throughout your day.
If you’re able, schedule one or two 15-minute blocks out of your day to decompress. There are many ways you can spend your work breaks. For instance, if your job is sedentary, consider going for a walk around the office. Or, if you don’t work in a team setting, use this time to chat with colleagues. Regardless of how you choose to spend your breaks, do something that helps take your mind off of work and any other obligations you may have.
Your breaks don’t have to last long either. Taking short, five-minute breaks throughout the day to stretch, nap, or read can give you the boost of energy and creativity you need to take on your next task.
A little stress can be motivating, but too much of it can set you back. With these tips, you can effectively manage stress through the busiest seasons