Stress is nothing new and continues to affect all of us. It comes from all areas of life; too little time, too little money, crazy work hours, not enough work, relationships, illness and continuous connection. Big surprise? Probably not! We’re all stressed and feeling its intensity on a daily basis. A recent Huffpost survey reported that 91 percent of Americans are stressed. The biggest culprit, work! We are required to do more with less, pushing ourselves every hour to be productive because we are happy to have a job. We have come more dynamic in our workday, but at the cost of our own physical and mental health.
Stress changes how you feel, how you react to others, what you eat, increases blood pressure and cholesterol. It affects your sleep, concentration, decision making and causes you to worry. To conquer the negative impacts of stress you have two choices: Get rid of whatever is stressing you out or boost your ability to navigate its effects. Ideally, you should be exploring ways to reduce stress and overload, but instead reality forces you to implement techniques to manage stress.
Here are a few recommendations:
- Stress Breaks: Temporarily remove yourself from the stress zone. More than 90% of professionals have reported better stress management by physically or mentally moving away from the stress trigger. Every 60-90 minutes get up from your desk and take a walk, get fresh air or do some light stretching. Even simply sit back in your chair and close your eyes for three minutes.
- Become a Corporate Athlete: Professional athletes know that they cannot play the game with 100% capacity 100% of the time. This would significantly diminish their performance in the long-term. Athletes practice the art of recovery, reflection, and short-term timeouts. This time is used to recharge and rethink their strategy for the rest of the game. Take a timeout to recharge and rethink your game.
- Get Serious About Fitness and Exercise: You’ve heard it over and over again; exercise is the best way to stay in shape and feel good. Well it’s true!! Not only that, it provides psychological benefits that will quickly neutralize the feeling of stress. Exercise also improves self-esteem, gives you a sense of being in control, and helps to regulate our emotions. Research has shown that leaders who exercise regularly rate significantly higher in leadership effectiveness than those who don’t exercise.
When you relax, you become more creative and clear in your thoughts, your relationships become stronger, and you begin to experience a sensation of well-being. Time and energy spent away from work will improve your productivity and capacity to deal with the stress at work. Habits are hard to break, and you may be feeling like you don’t have time to exercise, eat right, or manage your stress. So begin with the smallest changes; take a 10-minute walk each day or leave your desk for five minutes to breathe fresh air. The light speed pace that you work is not sustainable, without long-term consequences. A little effort will improve your ability to manage stress and lead to long lasting changes in your life.