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Marek Struszczyk

Co-Founder ManagerUp


Stress is eating us up. Especially at work. We have never been as stressed as now. We all desperately need proven ways to relieve stress.

Where does all the stress come from?

The main source of stress are our jobs. Did you know that when you measure your blood pressure (a good indicator of stress level), it is twice as high during your work day compared to at home or while on time off?

Your mental restlessness could be coming from different work-oriented factors. There may be tension between you and a colleague (or your seniors) because you have a feeling that they have been deliberately undermining your efforts. 

Your brain could be panicking because you’re overloaded with important tasks, especially if the deadline is around the corner. It could also be that you’re physical strained because you use non-ergonomic furniture in your office.

You may also encounter physical discomforts because of bad lighting, poor aeration as well as spending prolonged hours gazing at digital screens.

If uncorrected, all these raise the possibility of eventually succumbing to stress. Stress at work can have drastic consequences. First, your tasks will seem harder as days go by.

Then, you might start deriving joy in being absent. Your performance also drops to worrying levels while you’re picking fights with pretty much everyone on flimsy grounds…

The list is endless.

The only way you can keep stress and accompanying illnesses at bay is by modifying your lifestyle.

And that’s where this guide comes in. 

We have analyzed different ways to relieve stress and have come up with some of the most effective tactics to reduce it at work.

To give you a better outlook, this free guide is prepared from an organized content list. We strongly recommend that you read the first chapter to start. The rest of the chapters can be read depending on your particular interest.

The Guide on Ways to Relieve Stress includes:

– Four Important Tips to Start (A MUST READ)

– General Tips to Deal with Pressure at Work

 

In the Next Weeks: 

– Exercise to Relax and Calm Down

– Yoga, Meditation and Other Strategies to Enhance Your Mental Health

– Eating and Drinking to Build Resistance to Stress

– Interaction With Friends and Family to Cure Mental Health

– Sleep Well to Reduce Stress

– Extra Help: Effective Tools and Home Remedies to Bring Down Stress

– Nothing Works? S.O.S

 

Four Important Tips to Start (A MUST READ)

If you keep on reading, I assume that you are ready to throw down the gauntlet and start fighting that dreaded enemy, stress. Treat this fight as a structured process and crucial project.

As with other projects you manage, you have to do some homework. First you need to find out where you are.

 

1) Identify Your Stressors and Stress Level

What is the starting point? Are you aware what your  pains are? What really bothers you every day? What are the obstacles that stress you out?

Think about the factors in your office that make you unhappy and strained mentally and physically.

Busting stress starts with knowing and understanding your stressors. They can encompass external and internal aspects. The external type come from daily habits and routines, including your workload and job responsibilities. Internal stressors are all self-imposed and may focus excessively on personal concerns.

Take your time and identify at least three events that regularly make you feel worse.

Examples include addressing your boss, presentations to top management, interactions with certain people at work, office talk or personal worries without a basis.

It is also important to assess your stress level. The challenge is that stress is difficult to measure, especially if you are not a healthcare professional or a psychologist.

But, you can take a stress level test in which you can assess your stress level. Then you need to define your objectives and goals. What do you really want to achieve?

 

2) Decide What You Want to Achieve — Set up Goals

No project can be successful if you do not define what success means. You must define your stress management goals and later monitor your progress towards them.

Think about the things you want to change in your life.

Which stressors would you like to address above all? Around these stressors, you should define your goals. If you manage to reduce the impact of these key stressors, your overall stress level will diminish.

If you have taken an individual  test to determine your stress level, the goal could be linked to general improvement or a result related to a specific stressor.  We suggest you repeat the test each month during the first six and then every three months thereafter.

Success can be also defined as the incorporation of 3-5 anti-stress strategies into your weekly routine.

Again, they should be strategies that attack your key stressors. In this free guide on stress management, you will find more than 90 different ways to relieve stress.

 

3) Devise a Plan of Action to Manage Your Stressors

Once you have identified your stressors and defined your goals, you need to create an action plan to help you escape from these conditions or, at least, to reduce your negativity when they occur.

Having decided those things you would like to change, you need to pick up one to three specific actions to implement for each stressor.

For example, if you want to reduce the impact of the stressful events in your office or on your family life, you can:

1. Visit a gym on the way home

2. Ask your life partner to listen to you for 10-15 minutes to help ease your frustrations

3. Jump into a sport activity with your kids immediately after arriving home

 

It’s better to be proactive and confront your stressors than to stand and watch your stressors take a firm foothold.

 

4)  Be Patient in Your Stress Management. Start Small.

This is probably the most important advice we can give. It has taken you months, or maybe even years, to achieve the current stress level.

Do not expect miracles: changes take time.

It is important to start small and build on it. This means that trying everything at once is a mistake. Limit your scope to just one stressor and select three appropriate actions.

Adjust your plan as you go. When you shift gears and approach new strategies, you will find that you can beat stress.

 

General Tips to Deal With Pressure at Work

According to the World Health Organization, workplace stress is the most pressing health epidemic of our times. As a modern-day executive, you’re more at risk of suffering mental turmoil due to the hyper pressure that comes with your job.

The long business trips, demanding negotiations, energy sapping presentations and crazy deadlines may inevitably take a toll on you at some point. As a result, you might find yourself grappling with stress, heightened anxiety and increasingly deteriorating health.

Let’s look at some of the most impactful ways to deal with pressure at work. You can learn to reduce stress in the workplace despite the cutthroat nature of today’s corporate environment.

 

5) Prioritize Important Tasks

One of the best ways to deal with pressure and relieve stress for busy executives is to prioritize important tasks. Contrary to popular belief, research shows that our brains do not do well when bombarded with many tasks and actually become less effective.

That said, plan with priorities. Start with the most crucial items on your to-do list and follow up on one after the other to reduce stress.

 

6) Stop Procrastination

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that procrastinators habitually live with higher pressure and stress levels. Not only does putting off a pressing project at work increase the magnitude of your stress, but it also makes you uneasy every time during work meetings.

You can avoid this by doing what needs to be done in a timely manner. A handy tip is the five-second rule given to us by coach Mel Robbins. Before jumping into a task feet first, count backwards from five to one. He promises success with this method.

Learn more about stopping delays by reading this book that explains 21 awesome ways to stop procrastinating.

 

7) Establish Boundaries and Say NO to Extra Demands

You may be overworking and, therefore, are getting stressed because you have allowed others to encroach on your boundaries.

Instead of suffering silently, know your boundaries and jealously guard them. This means you must refuse to overcommit. Train yourself how to say no and to be assertive when circumstances demand.

Even when sharing roles in teams, be open and refuse unnecessary activities. In time, you’ll have more time for the chores that count and you will see a decline in stress at work.

 

8) Eliminate Interruptions in the Workplace

If you feel stressed about deadlines, try to implement measures that will help you focus on core tasks. For instance, have you ever estimated the time you spend scrolling through social media, checking your emails and responding to texts?

Turn off notifications at least during your most productive hours to improve your concentration. Similarly, shun other distractions and interruptions, including too much office banter cleverly.

Do not even fear keeping the door closed when working on duties that demand your complete attention.

 

9) If You Are Experiencing a Mental Block Due to Stress, Take Short Breaks at Work

A mental block prevents you from accomplishing your requirements because of the uncontrollable suppression of productivity. One of the best ways to relieve stress lies in the power of breaks.

Simply take leave from your desk and try walking around for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, distract yourself from the current state of affairs by thinking of something else — preferably an event that fills your heart with joyful feelings.

 

10) Practice Time Management

To defeat multitasking and disorganization, schedule your workday. This enhances efficiency and, in due course, reduces stress at work.

To illustrate, you can reply to emails or make calls only during set time windows. Schedule tasks in your calendar according to their significance.

 

11) Focus on Smaller Tasks

Stress makes it hard to fully concentrate at work. One of the best ways to relieve stress is to focus on smaller tasks.

In case you find yourself frequently struggling to kick start a pending task, break it down into smaller constituent parts and tackle them on one at a time.

You should, along the way, get the energy needed to conquer the whole project.

 

12) Learn to Delegate, If Possible

It’s difficult to excel in your most pivotal responsibilities if you hog all the obligations. Delegation is the panacea to overwork, allowing you to focus exclusively on high-level assignments. You will get the free time to get things done, thereby reducing your level of stress. Here’s how to do it:

– Delegate, guide, and remember to clearly frame the performance objectives for the mundane tasks

– Assess job success with feedback

– Avoid busy colleagues and find those with the required skills

 

13) Identify Self-imposed Pressure

We are humans and every day we wake up to new challenges as our positions evolve. Subsequently, it’s very normal to feel anxious about meeting the expectations that come with the job.

You should, however, stop heaping more pressure on your shoulders by pretending to be Mr./Ms. perfect at work.

Likewise, don’t spend sleepless nights attempting to end a task before the set deadline just to secure a bonus.

Doing this makes things harder for yourself unnecessarily and could escalate your stress. Over and above this, understand that high achievement comes from doing your best and not from perfectionism.

 

14) Learn to Cool Down Quickly

Another healthy way to relieve stress is to study your reactions when under pressure. Overall, we advise to avoid being kneejerk.

This is what you can do to reduce stress at work: instead of reacting to a provocation instantly, take a deep breath and try to relax.

Ultimately, you might eschew a costly utterance or action that could put you on edge.

Angry outbursts only worsen matters.

When frustrated or angry, attempt acting cool using beneficial techniques such as breathing exercises to bring down your stress and anxiety.

You can also learn self-calming techniques that help pressurized minds relax and reset. Meditation books can help train you how to respond calmly when under pressure.

Have a Look at Our Meditation Books for a Calmer Response at Work

 

15) Be Assertive in Your Communication

Learn to become a good communicator. This way of relieving stress includes holding open discussions with your team about assigned projects and seeking clarification from your boss when necessary.

On top of this, always issue clear instructions when delegating. Such skills are a powerful remedy for stress relief as they eliminates misunderstandings that can amplify interpersonal conflict.

It also helps your juniors perform with confidence, indirectly boosting your own productivity.

 

16) Be a Good Listener

 There is a real art to communicating. It is more than verbal self-expression. You also have to be a good listener.  Few realize that they are talking too much.

Distractions mar one’s ability to communicate such as when your mind wanders. You end up speaking of irrelevant things.

Stay on track with all your senses tuned to the person at hand.

There is something called “empathetic listening” which is simply tuning into someone with eyes and ears fully open. Use good listening and work and watch the reaction. A positive one will reduce your stress as misunderstandings are kept at bay.

 

17) Listen to Music at Work to Deal With Pressure

Motivational music brings a refreshing feeling and can help your mind escape from the routine and get distracted. This way to relieve stress can help you ease up ahead of important presentations, tense meetings or heated negotiations.

For daily inspiration, load energetic music into your car device as you gear up for a stressful workday.

 

18) Clean Your Workspace

A messy desk denotes a messy mind. Get rid of that flood of papers and messages and see your productivity grow.

Declutter! Clearing your workspace can be the breath of fresh air you need to destress and rediscover yourself. 

From happy bosses (because of the pretty looks), improved creativity, and higher immunity, the advantages are tremendous.

 

19) Reorganize Your Desk

You should go beyond decluttering and do a thorough clean up job. Reorganization is a known stress buster. You will find things faster and toss what is outdated and irrelevant.

One’s work environment is the key to productivity and that means reducing those little piles here and there.

Move equipment if it helps access needed items within easy reach.

 

20) Personalize Your Workplace

As yourself to describe your work environment. If you say stressful and toxic, you are in trouble. Your mood and productivity are likely to decline. You must remedy the problem with a better workspace, one customized to meet your personal needs.

Fortunately, even small tweaks can make a huge difference. Check for excessive lighting and improve aeration if it seems stuffy.

An exciting office décor may also lift your spirits. Some say plants work wonders just about anywhere on or beside a desk. They beautify the space as they reduce anxiety.

The right color plays a vital role in creating a pleasant atmosphere. Neutral or soft tones are at the top of the list to create calm. If you want to infuse the space with energy, go for brights. Meanwhile, blues and greens are known to promote restfulness while earth hues denote warmth. Intellects love yellow by the way.

A personal touch also goes a long way in setting the right tone. Who doesn’t love a photo of a spouse or the kids? Vacation memories are always popular and generate good feelings.

A Tip: Request senior management to lend a hand in attaining these changes.

 

21) Create  a stress-free zone in the office, if possible

A stress-free zone is any place you can go to relax. It could be a lounge, rest area, stock room or even part of a lobby with available seating. You may choose to play a game, meditate or listen to music. You will come to know what works best for you. A special treat would be practicing yoga on a portable mat.

 

22) Put Printable Mantras at the Office

We associate mantras with meditation; they are a single word or phrase that focuses the mind through a repeated rhythm.

Pressure and stress can be effectively treated by clearing the mind of negative thoughts.

You can use your breath along with the mantra you have chosen to focus your attention. They are an age-old way to relax though sound vibrations. You can teach your body to become calm at will.

We suggest this post on  40 useful mantras to reduce stress and how to use them! With this list, you have many choices. Use it daily and find yourself engulfed in peace and tranquility.

 

23) Stress Free Business Travels

Ask any business person and they will say that travel is stressful. Getting to a meeting or appointment takes time and effort, not to mention the hectic schedule at your destination.

We all know the meaning of jet lag and the hassle of flight delays or cancellations. A lack of sleep means coming home exhausted. It is all part of the process so you have to deal with it as best you can. We suggest melatonin supplements to sleep better upon arrival. 

Learn How to Use Melatonin for Sleep During Your Next Business Trip

 

Exercise to Relax and Calm Down

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) exercise can reduce stress. Along similar lines, a 2008 article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine observed that as little as twenty minutes of physical activity lessens nervousness and distress by as much as 20 percent.

Exercise reduces stress levels since our bodies tend to release more endorphins during workout sessions. Besides lessening anxiety, endorphins are renowned natural painkillers.

Best of all, even simple activities can make a massive impact, according to research studies. Some of them have been conducted to observe the impact of exercise on stress and depression. It seems to be a point of agreement that a ten-minute daily walk equates to a 45-minute workout.

The data is positive on the relief provided for anxiety by exercise. Furthermore, it points out that doing something daily is superior to the weekend warrior who crams it all into one long session. In this case, quantity beats quality for once.

Just read the evidence. It shows that physical activity breeds lower levels of stress. Sedentary people are out of luck. Furthermore, the exercise chosen must be on-going and rather vigorous to ward off depression long term.

Don’t say your schedule is too busy; you can work something in. Listen to an online poll from the ADAA (The Anxiety and Depression Association of America). Participants including walking and running exercise as a stress preventative showed better results.  

 

24. Walk to Work

Why drive to work when you can walk. It is not just about saving money on gas and parking. Think about all that traffic and the stress of enraged drivers rushing to pass you by.

You can avoid all this by walking. What a great way to wake up and burn some calories. It is important to wear the proper shoes, of course, and change them upon arrival at the office. Don’t risk sore feet so invest in quality at the start.

 

25. Choose Public Transport Instead of Your Car to Commute

Everyone loves the ease of public transport. You usually arrive on time, free from driver’s stress in traffic. Put yourself in the professionals’ hands. Besides, you will likely have to walk a bit to get to the station.

People look forward to their time on the train or bus. They can read, do a puzzle, listen to music or sleep. Experts tout the benefit of getting off early and walking that extra mile.

 

26. Park Far Away From the Door of Your Office

Don’t be lazy! Park at a distance from the office front door and watch those extra steps add up on your portable fitness meter. It won’t be as much as walking all the way, but every little bit helps. Keep your body and mind fit with exercise anywhere it is possible.

 

27. Go For a Walk When at Home

You don’t have to limit your walks to before work in the morning. Why not do one after work on the way home.

You can run some errands, visit friends or family, and enjoy less stress the next day. You can reset your mood each and every time you move those muscles and keep those worries at bay.

 

28. Take the Stairs at the Office

You are missing out if you constant use the elevator. The stairs are there to provide a bit of physical exercise, so use them.  Every office building has a few options. You can even go up and down a few times a day to get that heart rate up. Your stress will conversely drop.

Nothing is as good for mental tension as exercise. It has the additional benefit of controlling weight and building physical fitness.

 

29. Take the Long Way to the Bathroom at the Office

Wherever you go in your office building (and we hope it is large), don’t take the short cuts. If you go to the most distant bathroom, for example, it will serve as a great break. Try visiting someone on another floor by taking the stairs.

Sedentary people need to get up and move to prevent stress on the job from feeling confined and pent up.

 

30. Stand and Walk on the Phone

The “rule” about exercise even applies to a phone call. You can certainly walk with your phone at your ear. Let’s say it takes ten minutes. You get that much time in motion to add to your aggregate number of stems. Plus, you get to clear the “jam” in your brain.

 

31. Walk at Lunchtime

We can’t say it enough times: walk, walk, walk. Use your lunch hour to really hike about. You can eat in ten minutes and then go outside for a walking break. Perhaps there is a walkway around the building that allows you to enjoy some sunlight and vitamin D.

You will be refreshed and energetic when you return to your desk, full of vim and vigor, not to mention a dose of optimism. Stress is gone and you are happy as a clam.

 

32. Have a Walking Meeting

There really is such a thing as a walking meeting. If everyone is on board, get moving together as a group and cover your agenda as you travel. It is a social experience and a great form of communication.

Imagine the combined steps you all take during fifteen or twenty minutes. Soon  everyone will copy you, even for short brainstorming sessions.

 

33. Use Excuses to Walk More in the Office

We bet you can find an excuse to walk more in and around the office to break up your workday. We have made many suggestions such as during meetings, breaks, to go to the bathroom, get water or coffee, etc. You can get up to get supplies or throw out the trash.

Why email a colleague when you can walk to their desk. It is just as quick and face-to-face communication is personal and effective.

 

34. Do 20-Minute Workout at Work to Achieve Clarity of Thought

Busy bees. That’s what executives are. Endless days are filled with projects from morning until night. It seems that there is no time to spare, especially for a workout.

Okay, you might have to do it at home. But if possible, a 20-minute exercise break will do wonders for clarity of mind and creative thought. A little movement is fine so you don’t have to break a sweat and go change. On a routine basis, this is a great mood enhancer.

Certain sections of our minds associated with information processing get clogged over time.  The answer is a simple, short workout. For this reason, work hard and make time to workout at work.

Check out these 11 ideas to get started and be more active in the office!

 

35. Run to Reduce Stress

Running used to be the most popular athletic pastime. It is coming back for executives as a stress reducer because it can be done without relocating.

Have a look at Science. There is an article on how running negates chronic stress. It has the most impact on that part of the brain responsible for learning and memory, or the hippocampus.

In short, running has so many important benefits, among them stress control. It only takes 20 minutes a day and it happens right away. You will immediately notice more mental clarity and raised spirits.

Just a few weeks is needed to tone up your muscles and feel a new lease on life.

 

Yoga, Meditation, and Other Strategies to Enhance Your Mental Health

Past scientific studies showed clearly that meditation eases stress. Also, yoga has a strong scientific base not only in stress reduction but also in fighting anxiety and depression.

 

36. Practice Yoga at Work

It is praised so widely for most everything; no wonder yoga is said to be the perfect panacea for what ails you – mentally or physically. It affords one a feeling of peace and happiness while managing stress.

Thus it is touted in its many forms for everyone, workaholics and family addicts alike. You can choose your preferred intensity. Many prefer the popular Hatha Yoga for anxiety relief. It is not difficult but produces results.

Yoga has bucketloads of other benefits in the realm of creativity and concentration. So, go for it!

Do you still have doubts whether yoga can help you cope with stress at work? Look at this scientific paper.

Find Out More Benefits of Yoga at the Workplace

 

37. Practice Yoga After Work

Doing yoga after work will reduce your accumulated stress and calm you down. Yoga clears the mind and helps alleviate physical discomfort, one of the common workplace stressors.

Many studies reveal clear evidence of yoga’s efficacy.  One done in 2018 states that there is nothing like it for the promotion of health and well-being on a physical and psychological level. Stress begone! The simple poses are proof that Yoga promotes relaxation

 Akin  to yoga, try 5-minute meditation sessions at work to ease stress levels. The ripple effect of meditation could be particularly gainful for executives who often work in pressure-cooker work environments.

Meditation is an opportunity to better digest the unwelcome events at work and redirect your thoughts in addition to increasing your self-awareness, all of which combat stress.

We have compiled this Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Begin Meditation at Your Office.

 

38. Practice Meditation regularly (Beyond 5 Minutes).

Once you get used to it, lengthen your meditation sessions to more than 5 minutes to gain maximal benefit.

Done regularly and for longer, meditation goes beyond soothing your mind and will foster your cognitive skills and creativity.

 

39. Practice Mindfulness

If you want a more wholesome exercise, consider mindfulness.

A study concludes that meditation, even short term, can dramatically boost mental wellness. The fruits of your labor are many. You can count on more effective decision making, a better memory, all kinds of creative revelations, not to mention more acute concentration and less stress.

For starters, this practice is an amazing mode of being that permits us to be 100% present in every moment of our lives.

Since it helps us separate what matters from the “noise” around us, mindfulness has the capacity to free us from negative reasoning and, subsequently, stress.

Find out more about this acclaimed practice in our Simple Mindfulness Guide for Busy Executives.

 

40. Try Breathing Exercises at Home/Work

At first glance, it looks rather simple, but diaphragm breathing (belly breathing) is another fantastic way to lighten the burden in your mind.

It is all about a full oxygen intake and breath release. In short, air comes in and carbon dioxide goes out.

In diaphragmatic breathing, we push out our abdomens, rather than the usual chest when breathing. This act sets off a series of events that appease the brain.

Know that Diaphragmatic breathing is said to slow down the heartbeat while it simultaneously lowers blood pressure. It also impacts cortisol, the hormone that causes stress.   

Within this study, you will find the effects of diaphragmatic breathing and all its health implications.

 

41. Learn How to Control Your Brain With Your Body

Our brains are largely computer-like and closely coordinated with the rest of our bodies in actions like gestures and movements. Consequently, the body has the power to control what’s going on in the mind.

For example, you could be fidgeting with your fingers, rocking your chair, or moving your legs subconsciously when depressed, reflecting the turbulence in your mind.

Importantly, you can lower your mental distress by consciously stopping these involuntary body movements. Your mind will henceforth be more aware of what’s going on, and you may feel relieved psychologically.

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