Sometimes you need more than a double shot of espresso to make it through the workday. Between endless emails, meetings, and screen-staring, your body and mind can easily become victims to stress. Some companies even offer "mental health" days to combat the daily grind! All this anxiety (paired with lack of sleep—raise your hand if that's you) can wreak havoc on your health.
How Stress Can Affect You
We've all got our own sources of stress, and it's important to focus on identifying and minimizing the ways stress enters your life. Daily anxiety can cause high blood pressure and unhealthy lifestyle impulses; you may be tempted to partake in activities like like overeating, excessive drinking, and smoking in an attempt to combat your worries. Everyone experiences stress and its symptoms in different forms, but a few to be aware of include: headaches, dizziness, stomach pain, muscle aches, anger, depression, mood swings, and impulsive actions. Being aware of the way your body and mind respond to stress from the start can help you fight back against some of these indications of tension.
There are a multitude of ways to reduce stress, but unfortunately, hot baths and puppies are usually not available during the workday. So, here are a few suggestions for reducing those symptoms of anxiety during your work hours:
Write Down Your Tasks
Whether it’s finishing that presentation deck or just responding to an email, write down everything, both big and small, that must get done today. It will be easier to visualize your tasks, and you'll feel more in control. (FYI, more control = less stressed out.) Then, tackle each assignment, starting with the hardest one. As you work your way down the list, you can look forward to simpler tasks toward the end. (Bonus: Who doesn't love the feeling of crossing off items on a to-do list?)
Pack Healthy Snacks
It's easy to grab the free office muffins in the morning, or consume a sugary coffee drink in the afternoon when you didn't have time to grab lunch. Instead, make it easier to fight your cravings by fueling up on heart-healthy foods. Help yourself avoid temptation by bringing snacks from home and stashing them in your desk drawers. For an idea that will last all week and doesn't need refrigeration, try this trail mix combo: almonds, pretzels, raisins, coconut flakes, and a few chocolate chips.
Clear Your Head With Exercise
If you’re one of the lucky few who can squeeze a treadmill session in during your lunch break, then more power(walking) to you! If you’re like most of us who can’t escape for an hour during the day, not to worry—even just a quick walk around the block can help clear your head. In fact, regular walking can lower your risk of high blood pressure and improve your mood. Additionally, it's helpful to give your eyes a quick break from staring at a screen for hours on end.
Find A Little “Me Time”
Can't get out of the office at all? Simply putting on mood-boosting music, stretching, or practicing breathing techniques can do wonders for your anxiety. Log out of your email, and shut off your work phone for five minutes. Do something you enjoy, whether that's online shopping, chatting or texting with a friend, making a cup of tea, or simply closing your eyes. Friday suddenly feels a lot closer now, doesn't it? So, sit up straight in your chair, and conquer whatever the day throws at you.