Six Ways to Relieve Stress at Work

How to deal with stress in the workplace

Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG

As a health care provider working with people facing life threatening illnesses, I understand how stressful the workplace can be. Here are some ways that I manage workplace stress.

Prioritize. One of my favorite ways that I prioritize and reduce stress is by asking myself "How important is it?". I ask myself that question regarding tasks and stressors at work and home. It helps me to balance work, family and rest. On the job, it can help me figure out which tasks are critical to perform immediately and which can wait.

Use your leave time. Depending upon your employer’s benefit package, you may have earned time off which you may utilize. While reserving some leave for illness, vacations and emergencies is important, schedule occasional days off. Use some of that time to enjoy yourself. This may take some planning, but accumulating vast amounts of time off and not using it is not good for your health.

Eat healthy foods. What we consume can have a direct impact on our moods and energy levels. Avoid junk foods. Limit caffeine to avoid an afternoon slump. Consider taking supplements that are calming but not sedating. Passionflower, lavender and lemon balm are relaxing and uplifting.

Get up and move around. Better yet, take your break outside. Walking away from your work location gives you a chance to think about things you enjoy doing. You may get a chance to visit with a co-worker or just have a few minutes of "me time". You will return to your location feeling refreshed even if you do this for just a few minutes. This is especially important if you are engaged in sedentary or noisy work.

Personalize your work space. A few years ago, I brought a picture of my grandson to tape on to the file cabinet at work. My co-workers began to do the same. Now we have a huge file cabinet decorated with the smiles of children. It's great fun watching them all "grow"!

Celebrate. My manager is the queen of celebrations. Once a month, she brings in a meal so we can celebrate everyone who is having a birthday that month. It gives us a chance to recognize and appreciate each other. Laughter always ensues. Studies prove that laughter is one of the best stress reducing activities we can enjoy. If your manager is not as generous as mine, try having a pot luck regularly. Sharing a meal with others is one of the best ways to promote cohesiveness and break down barriers between workers.

I hope these tips help reduce some of your work-related stress. Use them as a platform to implement some of your own ideas to make your work day more enjoyable.

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