- Identify the cause(s) of stress within the work or home environment.
It is important you identify what is causing your stress – is it a work colleague, something that happened at work? Are you taking everything out of perspective or is it something at home which is affecting your work? The way to identify is to log what is happening at the start of the day and how you feel. Examples are when start to have a headache or annoyed, feeling your heart beating faster or breathing faster. Once you identify the cause this can help by managing to avoid or tackle the issue.
- Ensure you take breaks away from your workspace
As a routine take your morning break and lunch time break in a staff area or in the dining room or even go out to a park. It does make you feel much better and prepared for work more effectively.
- Background music
Listening to music is good sometimes but it is often better to concentrate without music and it will also help those about you. Not everyone likes the same music. An example is around Christmas when staff in shops have to listen to the same music over and over again often from early November!
- Any constant noises should be reduced, if possible
Constant noise can be very stressful so try and reduce talking too much to others round about you. A gentle reminder to your colleagues to say that you are trying to concentrate and this should help for a short time. Go to a quiet area for a short time and if you don’t have one, try working from home for a day if this is possible.
- Communicate effectively to all
So often we can say something and it is taken out of context. Make sure when you are communicating that you use the right words and the right means even if you type an email and leave it as a draft until the next day. It is not a good idea to write in haste when you could be upset.
- Good organisational management
Keeping your desk or workplace tidy is an excellent way to start and end your day. Ensure you have a place where you can put important files for example and you will know where they are. Have an extra pair of glasses so that you don’t spend ages looking for a pair when you are in a rush to go to a meeting. It takes time to get organised but the benefits are enormous and certainly lead to low stress levels.
- Healthy eating such as fruit and vegetables daily
Fruit such as apples, oranges, bananas or pears can make a great snack whenever you feel like a snack no matter what time of the day it is. Vitamin C is reduced when under stress, so it is important to increase intake of Vitamin C if you are under stress.
A healthy snack such as a low fat fruit yogurt or a smoothie not only helps to keep the hunger pangs at bay but is also one of your five fruit and vegetable that you should be having daily.
- Talk to a friend or trusted colleague if you are feeling stressed
It always helps if you can talk to someone whether it is someone you know or through a support group. It is amazing how this can help some people but for others it is not so helpful.
If you have no support, then a way to help is to write down all those things causing you to be stressed. As you write down your thoughts the act of doing this does make you feel less stressed. Whether you read it again is another matter but keep writing and it does help as many people have told me.
There are many support lines you could call and this can also help. Your employer may provide an EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) which may provide telephonic or face to face counselling which can help. Often speaking to someone outwith the work environment can put a completely different perspective on the issues causing your stress.
- No time – then make time and create an action plan for the next week/month
There never seems to be any time to do what we actually want and need to do. Do you take work home? Think about all the meetings you go to – do you really need to attend them all? Try either not going or send someone in your place sometimes. When you plan for the week ahead, it does help you to focus and at least have some sort of plan. I usually try and plan ahead, it doesn’t always go to plan but at least I know what I need to get done this week or the next week.
If you would like an action plan to download which will keep you focused so try it and see how you get on. Let me know how you find it and if you feel less stressed and under less pressure.
- Worried – create a Worry List with headings ‘Worry’ and ‘Cause’
So often we worry and this can affect our sleep and find that we cannot concentrate properly at work as we are so tired. Well it is now time to take some action as I need my sleep and I am sure you do also as it helps to replenish your body and make you ready for the next day. The worry list is useful and it can help you realise that it is not always something that you should be worrying about at all. Download the free worry list here