Here are 6 hacks to help reduce your stress throughout the work week:
1. Do something physical after work. Instead of walking in the door and crashing on the coach, give your body some attention in the form of exercise, or simply spend some time with friends or family. If you just work, then crash, then work again, then crash again, you are over-valuing your job – which will cause you to get lost in your own stressful thoughts and daily pressures. Instead, replace the work anxiety memories with new, better memories through good social contacts and exercise (note: combine the two by going to the gym with a friend).
2. Drink less coffee: If you start your day with a habitual cup of coffee – and then drink more once you get to work – know that this will raise your anxiety level. While a couple cups of coffee will increase energy level, it will also mimic stress symptoms (e.g., shakiness, racing heart, upset stomach, etc.).
3. Get up and move around. Go to the bathroom and stretch. Get a drink at the water fountain. Take a short walk on your lunch break. Anything to avoid sitting in one spot for too long. When we sit for lengthy periods of time, our breathing becomes shallow, which raises stress-levels.
4. Learn to turn your tasks into challenges for yourself. A lot of jobs consist of boring, menial labor. But you can add some spice to your life by timing yourself to see how quickly you can complete a particular task - or see how many tasks you can complete in a set time. In other words, turn your work into a game. This will give you the opportunity to accomplish more – and make your job a bit more pleasant.
5. Stop over-analyzing your anxiety. Oftentimes, diagnosing what exactly is getting you stressed creates even more stress. A moderate amount of stress is normal and to be expected. Some jobs are naturally stressful. Thus, paying extra attention to your stress-level is not unhelpful.
6. Take frequent mental breaks. Even if it’s just for a minute, meditate, take deep breaths, drop your shoulders and release any tension, or visualize a peaceful place that you experienced at some point (e.g., the beach). These little tactics help your brain to wind down a bit, which in turn reduces anxiety.
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