Many people find themselves stressed out. No matter what your job is, if you work full time, a good portion of your time is spent at work. No matter how much you love your job, there’s still stress. That’s why we reached out to our client, Dr. Carolyn Stone to write a guest blog about minimizing stress at work.
Dr. Stone is a naturopathic medical doctor practicing in Mesa, Arizona. She has a great blog of her own! No matter where you live, connect with her because she’s full of great information. Her blog and social media accounts cover healthy eating, great recipes, information about medical information, workouts, and more.
5 Ways To Minimize Stress At Work
Everyone I know experiences stress at work, even if they love their job (me included!). We all know stress is bad.. but why? When we’re stressed, we release a hormone known as cortisol. This hormone regulates blood sugar levels, blood pressure, immune responses, our central nervous system, and our metabolism. Short-term stress is ok and can even be good. On the other hand, long-term stress can lead to decreased thyroid function, sleep abnormalities, increased susceptibility for illness, elevated blood pressure (hypertension), abnormal glucose levels, and impaired cognition. If these long-term stresses are allowed to continue, the adrenal glands which produce cortisol will slowly shut down. That is when you develop adrenal fatigue.
One of the principles of naturopathic medicine is praevenire, or prevention is best cure. In an effort to prevent adrenal fatigue and disease, here are 5 ways to minimize stress at work.
1. Take care of your health.
If you are eating, exercising and sleeping well, your body is better equipped to handle stress. It is easy to let these things go when you feel overwhelmed or overworked, yet that only makes you feel worse. Start small- short walks, stretching, yoga- and build as your strength and stamina increases. Eat at regular intervals to regulate blood glucose levels or else you may get hangry. Get 8-10 hours of sleep each night, aiming to go to bed and wake at the same time each day. This helps regulate cortisol levels and allows your body to recuperate and regenerate.
2. Utilize time management skills. This can be applied to various areas of your work day. Start by leaving early for work, even 10 minutes makes a difference. By leaving early you give yourself time to settle in and assess what your day is going to be like. While this might be out of your hands, try to plan breaks throughout your day. You can talk a walk, meditate, do some squats, be creative! Don’t overcommit yourself and always plan for things to take longer than expected. If they actually do take longer you’re covered and if they don’t then you have a mini break between tasks.
3. Communicate effectively with coworkers and bosses. It’s easy to get caught in the cycle of complaining about your job or coworkers. Instead, try an actionable approach by discussing what is bothering you. Oftentimes people don’t realize how their behavior affects others and it also gives you an opportunity to reflect on your reactions to others. Not sure where to start? Check out this article on Tips for Communicating Effectively with Your Boss and this one on How do I Communicate Effectively with Co-Workers? There is always the possibility that your work environment is just not a healthy one and the best option is to change positions, relocate or find a new job entirely.
4. Ask for help & focus on solutions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Reaching out for advice or guidance does not make you any less autonomous, it is simply knowing that something is beyond your skill set or that someone might have more experience in a particular area. Most jobs rely on teamwork and different people have different strengths. Know your strengths and your co-workers strengths to make for smoother problem solving.
5. Keep it simple. This is another one that can apply to many aspects of your job. Keep your work area simple and free from clutter so that you can stay focused. Keep your task lists simple. Putting too many things on your to-do list can be overwhelming. Write down the most important things and do those first. Then if you have time left, address some of the other items on your plate. Organize, organize, organize. Organize your desk, organize your processes, organize your computer desktop, and so on. This will reduce your stress and make your day seem more manageable.