No matter what kind of job you have, stress is probably part of your workday. Deadlines, disagreements with coworkers, new processes and countless other factors can add up and create tension.You need to step back from time to time and care for yourself to give your best performance on the job. Here are five ways you can handle everyday stress at work.
1. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
Eating nutritious foods is an excellent way to improve many factors of your life, including your work performance. Healthy foods support your mental well-being by supplying your body with essential vitamins and minerals. They also help balance your gut bacteria, which is linked to good mental health. Stock up on foods such as:
- Leafy greens
- Healthy fats
- Fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut
- Nuts and legumes
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2. Take a Break
Stepping back from a challenging problem, even for a few minutes, gives you a chance to find a different perspective. Leave your workspace if you can and engage in physical activity, such as going for a short walk or stretching your back.
Breaks can help you maintain your performance during the workday and reduce the need for a long recovery time after work. Detaching during lunch or a few minutes mid-afternoon can increase your energy levels, reset your mood and help you return to your job refreshed.
3. Commit to a Vacation
When you’re caught up in the daily grind, it’s easy to postpone or forget tasks that are essential but not urgent. Be sure your vacation doesn’t get lost in the workday hustle. Schedule time off from work, even if you don’t have specific plans. Studies have shown that vacations can help regulate the body’s metabolism, stress response and immune function, among other positive factors, and the benefits last long after the vacation is over.
If you’re concerned about asking for a vacation, keep a few tips in mind. Ask your boss at a slow-paced time in your workday, not when you’re rushed. Give as much lead time as you can and try to avoid taking time off during a busy season. Catch up beforehand so that you don’t leave coworkers with a backlog. If you can take care of details before you go, your employer will have fewer reasons to deny your request.
4. Find Colleagues Who Can Relate
The chances are that whatever you’re dealing with at work, others can empathize. Consider talking to a trusted coworker. Whether you need advice or want to share experiences with others, knowing someone else has handled similar situations can make you feel better.
If you don’t have someone at work to confide in, try networking within your industry. You may strike up a mutually beneficial relationship with a colleague or mentor.
5. Pursue a Hobby
If work overwhelms you, pursuing a hobby puts some worry-free time into your schedule. Busy people may think they can’t afford to take time out of their schedule for leisure, but the benefits of a hobby are worth it. They give you a chance to use your best skills and fully engage. You can forget your troubles while you are absorbed in your pursuit.
If your hobby is a group activity or involves meeting with others, you have the chance to make friends outside of the workplace, building your support network. Some hobbies that help you meet people include:
- Running clubs
- Sports leagues
- Book clubs
- Crafting groups
- Yoga or fitness classes
- Travel clubs
- Cooking classes
It isn’t always possible to avoid the stressors in your work environment. You can, however, learn to take care of yourself both at work and while you’re away. If you feel you need more support, reach out to your employer’s HR department for resources.