Let’s face it… Work can be stressful and being an adult can also be stressful. I’m prone to feeling physical and emotional symptoms of stress when my schedule is overbooked. So I take steps to prevent stress whenever I can throughout my day. This often starts the night before. Any night I’ve packed my breakfast/lunch/snacks for work and packed my running clothes/set out my work clothes, my morning feels like it goes smoothly. I even prep Finn pup’s snacks and treats for the day and put his peanut butter Kong’s in the freezer.
This means in the morning, if I get up at 4:30, I can do a little schoolwork, walk and take care of Finn, make coffee, and then get ready to go. If I have to add in prepping meals and snacks for the entire day, I’m already stressed before I head out the door.
My commute is another source of stress. I check the weather always and make sure I know the road conditions, I put podcasts and upbeat music on my phone to help me get through the long drives, and I use the time to try to relax (easier said than done, but I’m working on it).
At work, there’s a lot you can do to reduce stress. Some great things I’ve discovered are:
1.) Write out to-do lists: I’m a big fan of handwritten lists that I can cross things off. Though some people use their computers or phones, I still enjoy physically checking things off a to-do list. Plus, writing things out helps me stay focused and organized throughout the day when there’s 500 things going on.
2.) Take your breaks: I am so bad about this one. I just don’t take the breaks that I should. Many days I find myself in a meeting, health coaching, or something comes up and then suddenly it’s 3pm. Getting away from your desk makes a world of difference. Bonus points if you walk in nature and get some fresh air. Or go get yourself a nice cup of coffee or tea from that coffee shop you’ve been meaning to try. Treat yourself!
3.) Take deep breaths. If you can’t get away from your desk and you can feel the tension from your head all the way down your shoulders. Close your eyes and take deep breaths for a minute. Really focus on breathing and letting go of the tension.
4.) Aromatherapy. I keep a stress relief stick at my desk. I don’t know that it does all that much, but the scent is very soothing and relaxing to me and because the scent is so comforting, I calm down instantly.
5.) Stay Hydrated. Dehydration can make it difficult to concentrate and be productive. It can also give you physical and emotional symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and irritability. Keep a water bottle by your side throughout the day. If you’re bored with plain water, add fruit to it!
6.) Add personal touches to your desk or office. I work at a cubicle so I don’t have much space. That being said, I have a plant that doesn’t need much care (since I travel a lot for my job), photos of my wonderful partner and our rescue pup, art from Haiti, and some art work my students in Japan made me. Just looking at the photos of my adventure family instantly makes me smile.
Next time you’re feeling stressed, try out some of these tips and see if they help you. Happy Wednesday folks!