As the end of the year came to a close, my stress seemed to mount like a wave.
I had more deadlines than I had fingers for typing, so I needed to work smarter, faster and more productively. Even more pressingly, I’ve found that stress just doesn’t serve me. It makes things worse.
If I lay awake stressing about work, I get less sleep. Ergo, I have less energy to my work and get further behind.
What’s more, stress impacts on my relationships and my health. I don’t find the time to connect in a meaningful way with those close to me (“too busy!”) and the usual activities I do to stay sane, walking and journaling, fall by the wayside.
Things eventually came to a head and I ended up sick. . My body had said, “Enough!”
Here’s what I could have done to avoid work stress getting the better of me, as suggested by the American Psychological Association.
Maybe they’ll keep you above water.
1. Turn off and tune in
Rather than letting technology rule you, create ‘turn off’ timeslots for your mobile phone. For example, it could be that you switch your phone off after 8pm at night, or every Sunday. If you share your intentions with your nearest and dearest, you’re less likely to come up against any opposition!
2. Keep a "To-Do" list
At different times of the year, our ‘to-do’ lists can run out the door and down the street – they can be long. Make sure you get it all down on paper, rather than waste mental energy (and stress) trying to recall all those tasks – then prioritise the most pressing of tasks. This strategy will also serve to boost your focus.
3. Take short breaks
When you’re busy, it can be tempting to power through and forget about breaks – but this tactic can drain your energy reserves.
Every few hours, take a 10-15 minute break to recharge. You’ll be rewarded via extra bursts of productivity
4. Find healthy ways to manage stress
Many turn to unhealthy behaviours like smoking and drinking as a way of coping with stress, but as these habits impact negatively on health, they can add to, rather than detract from, stress.
Exercise, meditate or talk with friends and family. Focus on changing just one (bad) habit at a time. No matter how crazy things gets, make time for yourself.
What do you do to stay on top of things at work?
Take the Blackmores stress quiz and find out how you compare to the rest of Australia