Work related stress is a real problem for many people. Stress related problems stemming from pressures at work are a constant reminder that work can be challenging well beyond the simple understanding of how to perform your tasks well. The physical effects of stress may result in symptoms such as palpitations, headaches, insomnia or over active colons, are often the by-products of workplace stress. Although it would be great to find a simple pharmaceutical remedy—often physical symptoms of stress are your body’s way of handling the daily pressures you experience on the job.
Create a Morning Ritual
When you wake up each morning, spend some quiet time preparing for the day ahead of you. Think through what you expect to accomplish, but realize that everything may not happen as you have planned. Give yourself time for some stretching, yoga, or an early morning work out to get your body moving. Take time to engage with the others in the household (maybe take a few minutes to grab breakfast together) just to stay grounded. Remember that your work is not the central focus of your life but is a part of a much greater holistic life.
Use Your Lunch Break to Reinvigorate
If you can, spend time with people whose company you enjoy, and engage in some conversations aside from work issues. If you can’t find people with whom you get along, spend some quiet time alone reading or engaging in other non-work focused activities. Go for a walk. Find ways to give your mind a break from the work issues and give your body a break from your workstation.
Be Aware of Body Tension
Try to check each hour and become aware of any tension your body may be experiencing. Are your neck and shoulders tense? Are your legs and knees feeling cramped? If you are working on autopilot, you may not realize how much time you are spending behind your desk, staring at a computer screen. Take time to take 3 deep breaths; do 2 minutes of shoulder rolls, do a neck stretch for 1 minute, and a reverse prayer pose for 2 minutes. These yoga exercises send oxygen to your muscles and help relieve the tension that builds up from sitting in one position. Or get up and walk for a few minutes to give your body time to relax. Either way, the body tension that builds from your work related stress can cause long term problems if this is an on going practice.
Take Time to Unwind When Returning Home
On the way home from work, give yourself some opportunities to unwind and refocus on your home life. Leave the work issues behind. That often means shutting down the mind from rehashing the day’s events or worrying about tomorrow’s schedule. Find ways to focus your thoughts on other things besides work. If you are driving in a car—find some music you enjoy that is relaxing or energizing—whichever works best to give you a change from work. If you are taking public transportation—read a book or newspaper or enjoy IPod music or videos. The point is to shift your focus from work to a focus on the other meaningful aspects of your life that exist outside of work.
Turn Off Your Work Technology
The pace of our work world is increasing at a dizzying speed, and with the advances in technology there are fewer ways to get away from our work. You can be connected 24/7 with Smartphones, IPads, and Netbooks. Make time for your own downtime so you can re-energize for the next work day.
Work related stress is becoming a common problem for the workforce, whether employees, entrepreneurs or business owners. The lines between professional life and personal life are becoming increasingly blurred. It takes discipline to stay mindful of what patterns are developing in your life and stop the patterns that have the potential to be destructive. Take stock in your daily routines and make adjustments to reduce your stress so you can begin enjoying more of your present moments and stop living on autopilot mode.