If work-related stress has you feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or just plain burnt out, you’re not alone. In fact, studies conducted by the American Psychological Association revealed that one-third of Americans deal with chronic on-the-job stress.
Work-related stress has a major impact on our quality of life. And it adds up to millions of dollars in medical expenses and lost income every year. For most of us, quitting our job simply isn’t a viable option. But, what can you do to reduce your stress levels at work?
Here are five proactive ways to cope with work-related stress so you can enjoy life outside the office.
1. Take care of yourself
Many of us don’t take the time to take care of ourselves, but it’s incredibly important for managing your stress levels. It starts with prioritizing good nutrition, regular exercise, and proper sleep.
Exercise isn’t just about maintaining your weight. It also encourages the release of mood-boosting hormones, called endorphins, that can instantly lower your stress levels. But that doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym every day if it’s not something you enjoy. Any activity that you enjoy will get your endorphins pumping, whether it’s dancing, swimming, walking, or paddleboarding.
When it comes to managing stress, good nutrition is crucial. Eating a variety of whole foods every day is super important, especially fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and lean proteins. According to Rahav Wellness, an integrated medicine clinic specializing in IV nutrition therapy,
Much of our health and wellness depends on our inner balance of hydration, vitamins, and nutrients. Sometimes, the body simply needs a boost of proper nutrition to overcome stress or illness.
Proper sleep is also essential for good self-care and stress management. If you’re not getting enough quality sleep, you won’t be able to focus and you’ll deal with mood and energy highs and lows throughout the day. You’ll be more prone to burnout, too. The average adult requires seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
2. Take time for the things you enjoy
Taking care of yourself isn’t just about practical things like exercise, diet, and sleep. You also need to make time to do the things you enjoy. Maybe you have a hobby that’s been put on the back burner since work got so hectic. Or, maybe love to read or watch old movies.
Everyone has their favorite activities. Whatever it is that makes you happy, be sure to make time for it. It can be any activity that leaves you feeling recharged and ready to handle the challenges in your work life. Taking time just for yourself is so important, even if it’s just a quiet walk through your neighborhood.
3. Be present
A healthy balance between work and home life is so important for managing stress. You have to learn to be present. In other words, when you’re at home, focus on your family and enjoying your downtime. When you’re at work, focus on accomplishing the task at hand.
If you’re bringing your work home with you, you’ll still be dealing with work-related stress in your home life. Instead of focusing on yourself, you’ll be thinking about work. Being present means letting go of all things related to your job when you’re off the clock.
When you get home, have a glass of wine and listen to some soft music, go out to dinner with your partner, or watch a funny movie with your kids. Make a point of enjoying relaxing and fun activities that have nothing to do with your job.
4. Talk about it
Of course, you don’t want those that are close to you to worry. But the people who care about you will know something is wrong and want to help however they can.
Talking with your friends and family about what’s stressing you out is a healthy way to cope. They might even be able to offer solutions you haven’t thought of.
A sympathetic sounding board may be all you need to put your work-related problems into perspective. Hopefully, once you’ve talked it out, you can let it go and enjoy your downtime.
5. Get away from it all
There’s no better way to reduce stress and recharge your batteries than to get away from it all, even if it’s just for a short time. Getting away for a little while doesn’t have to be expensive. Find opportunities to unplug with day trips and weekend getaways whenever you can.
The planning and anticipation are a major part of the fun, and it’s excellent for your mental outlook. It’s a healthy and enjoyable way to cope with work-related stress and recharge your mind and body so you can head back to the office with a renewed mindset. Don’t forget to be present and leave your work behind so you can enjoy your time away!
Wrapping things up
While you may not have a lot of control over the things that cause you to stress at work, there are plenty of proactive ways to cope with work-related stress when you’re off the clock. Leaving work behind and being present in your home life is key. You’ve just got to find what works for you.