We all know that 21st century working life is hardly a breeze. People are working longer hours, taking on bigger responsibilities and are often responsible for some very high-stakes work. But there are some very easy ways to lighten the load and make your workday a much less stressful experience than it needs to be. Here are five possible ways of doing this.
1. Don’t look at your emails as soon as you arrive at the office
We all have priorities, things we need to do. Clients and customers will email us and our instinct is to check if they have and reply to them straight away. That’s good customer care, right? Well, if your priority was to sit down and get on with a piece of work for a client, that priority has been immediately pushed back by checking and responding to emails instead. This in turn has the effect of altering your entire workday. If the work isn’t done, it’s more detrimental to customer care than not answering their email. And all of this worry amounts to a lot of undue stress in your workday.
Instead, you should set yourself a time or times for checking your emails and deal with them at that point only. Do the work you really need to do first.
After all, if it’s really urgent, your client or customer will pick up the phone.
2. Be kind to others
It may sound patronising, but being kind to others isn’t always easy when you work in a busy, high-pressure environment or you simply have a lot to do. Tight deadlines and other internal pressures can lead us to take this stress out on others. However, the reality is that this won’t actually make you feel better. You’ll feel worse.
The Independent published scientific findings which detail how being kind to someone helps stimulate Oxytocin, the bonding hormone. This causes dilation of the arteries and in turn reduces blood pressure. We all know that work stress can lead to high blood pressure, so a small act of kindness towards your colleagues could diminish this. Who would have thought? Being kind to people actually benefits the cardiovascular system!
There are more obvious benefits. Treating your colleagues and employees as you would like to be treated in their position creates a happy, productive working environment. Your staff working well will lighten your burden. Furthermore, if your staff or colleagues are happy, they will be much more willing to help and will work harder to attain the goals you set.
And breathe! Get into a habit of breathing deeply and slowly and just thinking about your breathing for a moment.
Why is this important? It’s because breathing detoxifies. It releases 70% of the toxins from the body, whereas ineffective, shallow and quick breathing will not properly expel the toxins. If your body’s other systems must work harder because of the presence of too many toxins, this will eventually result in illness – surely the last thing you want if you are already working against the clock.
Not only this, but breathing deeply and slowly helps release tension. Your muscles tighten when you feel stressed or angry, which causes your breathing to become shallow and quick, and your body doesn’t get the oxygen it needs. Avoid this cycle by acknowledging when you are becoming stressed, stopping for a moment and just breathing. You’ll probably find that whatever you’re stressing over isn’t as big a problem as you thought it was.
4. Do something active with your lunch break
It’s important to make sure you have a lunch break. This can be testing in some professions, but if you want a little bit less stress in your life, it’s important to switch off partway through the day and take an hour for yourself. Plus, the Metro reported recently that as a result of not taking our full lunch break, Britons are working an extra 19 days each year – without pay!
What’s also important is that you don’t just sit at your desk during your break, eating your lunch as you surf the internet. De-stressing, unwinding and relaxing are much better achieved by getting away from your desk and going for a wander. Alternatively, go for a run, pay a quick visit to the office gym, or just have a chat and a catch-up with some friends. You’ll discover that you can actually fit a lot of productive things into your lunch break when you put your mind to it.
If you work at the serviced offices at Send Business Centre in Surrey, it’s particularly easy to enjoy a pleasant lunch break by going for a walk in the centre’s lush, picturesque surroundings next to the canal or through the fields.
5. Eat well, sleep well, live well
Eating and sleeping properly are very easily sacrificed by busy people. Deadlines combined with social events and family commitments can make fitting in our basic needs difficult.
But your family and your work will benefit from making sure you meet these basic needs. They are basic needs, after all. We can’t survive without sleep and proper food, at least not for long. Try and sleep for at least 8 hours, make sure you have a decent breakfast, lunch and dinner, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Feeding and resting your body is the most fundamental means of reducing stress, which in turn will make you more productive. If you’re more productive and effective, you’re less likely to encounter stressful obstacles, and you’ll be in a healthy, happy cycle.