10 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress During Your Work Day
Most of us have had to make a big change in the way we work over the course of this year. The mundane daily routine of getting up and going to the office has, at least temporarily, gone and working from home has become the new norm. Unfortunately this change hasn't gone as smoothly for some as it has others with one of the biggest difficulties being able to separate "work life" from "home life". Whether this be because of a lack of space meaning we have to work and sleep in the same room, because we feel the need to do more to prove that we deserve to still be employed or simply because with nothing much to do working longer hours seems like a good way to pass the time the result can be the same; we don't ever properly switch off!
While our intentions may be good, working too long, not taking time off and prioritising work demands over our own self-care can cause fatigue and eventually burnout which is why being self aware and getting into a good routine which gives us a chance to stop when we need to is so important. Taking time to set ourselves up for the day, taking regular pauses while we are working and taking time at the end of the day to consciously detach from work are more important now than ever and here are 10 quick ways to do that . . .
1. Make a pact with yourself to start each new day off with a few moments of silence and reflection. When you take the time to sit quietly or meditate, you start the day off on a more positive note. You can even do this while sipping your coffee or tea.
2. Before you sit down at your desk or work space take a few moments to pay attention to your breathing. If you sense any stress, take a few deep and cleansing breaths imagining the stress floating away as you breathe out.
3. When you sit down pay attention to any bodily sensations you feel such as tension in your back or any pain you might feel. If you so experience pain or tension, take a moment to stop and breathe deeply for at least two to three deep breaths.
4. Use your breaks to take a short walk around your home just so you can change your environment. If you can’t leave your desk, just close your eyes for a minute and see if you can turn your mind off completely.
5. Change your environment for lunch as well by going outside to eat or sitting somewhere you wouldn't normally sit.
6. Take some time at lunch or during breaks to stop and talk to people. Try to focus on non-work related items.
7. Take a few moments every hour to stop and breathe deeply, to ward off any stress or strain and become aware of your breathing and bodily sensations, allowing the mind to settle and giving yourself time to regroup and recoup.
8. Retrace the events of the day before you finish for the day and congratulate yourself for what you’ve accomplished. Make a short list for the next day before finishing if that feels right for you.
9. Before completely finishing for the day, sit quietly and consciously to give your mind a chance to transition from work mode to home mode.
10. Finally change out of your work clothes so you are making a clear conscious effort to distance yourself from work mode. Then either spend some time talking to the people you live with or allow yourself five minutes to be quiet and still, simply enjoying the quietness and peace of your home.
Whilst pushing ourselves at work may start from a place of good intention it is important to remember we are living, breathing beings and each of us only has a limited amount of energy. Just like we need to charge our mobile phones, ipads and laptops every day, so too do we need to give ourselves time recharge and re-energise. So next time you notice yourself starting to feel a bit stressed, drained or frustrated don't try to just ignore or push past it. Recognise that it's your body telling you it's time for a break and allow yourself the time and space you need to prioritise your own self care. If you don't look after yourself, who else is going to take care of you?