“I’ve been feeling a lot of extra pressure at work lately and it seems like my head is spinning. I can’t stop worrying about everything I have to do at work, even when I’m at home. ” A friend recently told me this while we were catching up on the phone, and it made me think about the similar conversations on this topic that occur around the world every day. In fact, according to a Northwestern National Life survey, 40% of workers surveyed reported their job is “very or extremely stressful” and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that 25% of workers view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.
Time-crunched employees in stressful work situations are often tempted to try to intensify their efforts and just “work through it.” While this is a natural reaction, taking a short break will help lower your stress and allow you to tackle your work more effectively. Here are a few common techniques you may want to use to lower your stress without losing valuable work time.
- Take deep breaths. Simply taking ten deep breaths can slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.
- Exercise. Although you may not have time for a long, relaxing run or walk, taking a quick walk around the block or doing light stretches at your desk can ease your stress.
- Take a peek at some favorite pictures. Looking at pictures of friends, family members, a pet, or even a favorite vacation spot can remind you of relaxed, happy memories.
- Chew (sugar-free) gum. Just do it quietly so you don’t stress out the co-workers within earshot!
- Be grateful. Take a few minutes to make a list of the things you’re grateful for in your life. You’ll feel the stress melt away when it’s put into perspective.
Have any of the suggestions above worked for you in the past? What other techniques do you like to use when you’re feeling the pressures of your work? Leave your comments below.