How to reduce stress at work

Young woman in front of her computer

A little bit of stress in the workplace is normal, but when it’s constant it can take a toll on your productivity and relationships, and impact on your physical and emotional health. Perhaps you’re working long hours, have constant pressure to perform or have unrealistic deadlines. You can’t control everything in your work environment but there are ways to reduce the stress you feel on the job. Remember to:

  • Take care of yourself – If job stress is impacting on your health or personal life, it’s time to take action. It’s easy to think that a few extra hours of work will be good and you’ll achieve a lot, but all work and no play is a recipe for burnout. When your own needs are taken care of, you’ll be better equipped to deal with stress and feel stronger and more resilient to its effects. Self‐care measures include:
  • Exercise – Regular exercise is a great stress reliever, even if it feels like the last thing you want to do. Aerobic (cardio) exercise is a great way to lift your mood, increase your energy and distract you from the stresses of your day. Try and include at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week.
  • Get enough sleep – You might think that working late into the night will help you to get the job done, but being well‐rested is better for your overall productivity. Sleeping for about eight hours each night will also help you keep your emotional balance so you’ll be better able to cope with workplace pressure.
  • Make better food choices – It might be tempting to reach for ‘comfort’ foods when you’re stressed, but eating healthy and nutritious food will help keep your energy up and help you stay focused. Increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein such as fish, chicken or legumes.
  • Have a relaxing morning ritual – If you start your day in a stressful way, you’ll probably feel stressed for the rest of the day as well. Begin your morning with a five‐10 minute session of simple stretching and deep breathing.
  • Prioritise and make a plan – At the start of the day, write down the jobs you have to do and rate them as high, medium or low priority. Now tackle them in order of importance and try to do the less pleasant tasks early in the morning to get them out of the way.
  • Ask for help – There’s nothing wrong with asking for help if you need it, and you’ll quickly learn that people love to be asked as it makes them feel useful and important. If you let go of the desire to control every little step, you’ll also be letting go of unnecessary stress.
  • Schedule ‘no meeting’ time – If you can, block out regular periods in your calendar so no one can schedule a meeting in and you will have the time to simply get your job done. You could also schedule ‘no email’ time by shutting down your inbox so you don’t become distracted by incoming messages.
  • Take regular mini‐breaks – Take short breaks throughout the day to pour a glass of water or cup of tea, or go for a walk. Also ensure you leave your desk for lunch, which will help you recharge and make you more productive for the rest of the day.
  • Consider taking a supplement that supports memory, stress and energy – Nature’s Own Focus & Perform contains Cereboost®, a unique extract of American ginseng, along with brahmi, ginkgo and B vitamins. This formula improves working memory (short term memory) for six hours, both in terms of speed of memorisation and memory capacity. In addition, it temporarily relieves tension and mild anxiety, and assists energy production.