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Last updated: 01.07.15

Tips for reducing stress at work

If you have a busy work-life, it's likely you'll encounter days where it seems as though everything is against you. During busy periods, your workload will increase and it can be difficult to stay on top of it all. This might leave you feeling overworked and exhausted, which can lead to anxiety and stress. While it's normal to have the occasional "off" day at work, it isn't okay to feel anxious and stressed frequently. Leading a stress-free work-life is important, therefore, as it will enhance your productivity, performance and happiness levels. So the next time you feel stressed out at work, follow these tips: 

Schedule breaks

Taking a break from a particular task will allow you to clear your mind and relieve any tension. Make the most of your lunch breaks; rather than sit and eat your lunch at your desk, go for a walk or sit and eat outside if the weather's nice. This will enable you to separate yourself from your work for a short while, meaning you'll feel more refreshed and revitalised when you come back to it. You could even offer to make a cup of tea or coffee for your workmates, which will give you a chance to take a break in the kitchen for a couple of minutes and focus your energies on something other than work.

Keep your workspace clean and organised

If your workspace is cluttered with papers or random bits and bobs, this could be contributing to your anxiety. As the saying goes, a tidy desk brings a tidy mind, so have a clearout. Recycle or throw away everything you don't need and store the things you do in compact desk organisers. After doing so, you'll have much more space to work and perform tasks without things getting in the way or distracting you.

Ignore interruptions

It's easily to be interrupted in the workplace, especially if you work in a large office. While you may not have control over the interruptions you can control your responses to them. For example, dedicate specific times in the day to answer your emails or set up office hours to host one-to-ones or team meetings. This way, you won't be bombarded with unexpected tasks consistently through the day.

Don't over-commit

There's only so much you can get done in any one day, so don't over-commit to tasks. Taking on more than you can physically achieve at once will cause you to enter a state of panic, which in turn will make you feel stressed. Avoid scheduling things back-to-back and set yourself realistic and achievable daily goals.

Prioritise tasks

If you know that you have a lot of work to get through, make a list at the start of the day detailing everything you need to do and prioritise the most important or time-consuming tasks. Getting these tasks out of the way from the outset will mean the remainder of the day can be spent completing less taxing activities, allowing you to wind down before going home.

Eat right and sleep well

Eating foods high in fat and sugar will make you feel lethargic and sluggish during the day, while having low sugar levels can cause you to become anxious and irritable. Small, but regular healthy meals or snacks can help you get through stressful days, keep your energy levels up and maintain your focus. What's more, the amount of sleep you have each night can have a significant impact on your work performance. Ensure you sleep for around six to eight hours every night to feel the rejuvenating effects.

Sources: Forbes - 12 ways to eliminate stress at work


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