by Jasmine Jarchevska, Counsellor and Psychotherapist at Chelsea Natural Health
Unlike depression and anxiety, stress in the work place is something many of us can openly empathize with and talk about in a throw away manner after a days work. It is becoming a social norm that work induced stress is part of the job and ‘pushing yourself’ has become a duty, rather than a choice.
Ben Jacobson, a co-founder of Conifer Research, told The Wall Street Journal ‘No one wants to be seen as the slowest moving object in the solar system. You have to keep up with the Joneses – literally’. What we are really telling ourselves with this thought process is money, status and material possessions are more important than our health and happiness.
In short periods of time intense focus created by stress and the fight or flight mechanism can be used productively. Daily stress is different, it is not only difficult to manage but it has a negative ripple effect on our health and relationships, which in turn can lead to more serious problems such as depression and addiction.
My simple secret to dealing with stress in the workplace is by developing a better relationship with your mind, body and soul. Here are eight steps to help you make that change and lessen the stress in your life.
- Listen to your unique body – notice what stimulates stress for you and question why you are allowing yourself to meet that situation time and time again.
- Cut down on drinking – A little catch twenty-two but the nights before a big day at work should involve a clean evening. Find new ways to relax and swap them for that glass of wine!
- Practice mindfulness and meditation – It is really important that you take time for you. Start your day by spending a couple of minutes after you wake up deep breathing and increase this over time. YouTube also has wonderful, easy to follow meditation videos you can listen to in bed on your smart phone.
- Eat healthy – It’s easy to eat complex foods when you’re under stress as you think it will give you more time to deal with what you are stressed over but putting processed foods in your mouth will only increase the negative balance in your body and make it harder to manage the stress.
- Spend more time doing the things you enjoy – Don’t agree to doing things you don’t want to do! This is really important as pressure from peers and family can make you feel guilty if they invite you to something and you want to say no. It is not selfish to put yourself first. Develop your boundaries and treat yourself when you make time for you in the evenings and weekends.
- Exercise – If you really feel like you don’t have time to go to the gym, try a 20-minute run or an exercise class on the fitness channels. Twenty jumping jacks in the kitchen or bathroom at work when no one is looking can also increase your serotonin levels and temporarily combat stress!
- Learn something new outside your work environment – This will take your mind off your work related topics and make you feel good about yourself.
- Follow your heart – If you don’t wake up looking forward to your job because of the amount of stress it is causing you, think about finding a new profession that is more suited to your soul nature. Changing careers can be hard but a difficult career move will always be easier than a life of work induced stress.
Tasks at work should be enjoyable, challenge you and be a learning experience. Learn to enjoy your working life as much as your play time by following my simple secret and live, love and dream your way to your new stress free life.