Are you stressed at work after your fun summer already?
So let’s be honest here: life just seems so much happier and more at ease during those super summer days, when it’s warm outside and the long daylight just simply splurges you
BUT – all good things come to an end and so fall has arrived (and yes, to my GOT fans out there… winter is coming as well.)
You probably encountered your regular work days to be back on track, followed by less time with friends and family. Maybe you even started working longer hours and you also decided to take work home, but then your piles of work just don’t seem to get any smaller…
If that is the case maybe you are wondering how to escape this work related stress and craziness at least this time around.
But what exactly is stress?
Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand from you or your environment in a physical manner. When you are stressed your body thinks it is under attack and starts releasing a mix of hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline.
Through the release of these hormones your body gets an extra boost to function extra quickly in the given situation. While this might have been helpful in the past to avoid good old T-Rex, those life threatening situations are luckily not part of our daily survival struggles anymore.
Modern office stress at its best
In our modern world however, this adrenaline rush may be helping our survival in vital and sometimes wild office situations, such as:
– conquering the path to our next meeting with the boss
– fighting the ‘photocopying apparatus’ before a presentation
– surviving the coffee hunt in a ridiculously long waiting line
– swimming in never-ending piles of work and to-do’s
– biting your coworker after her or his promotion was announced
The challenge for your body is not so much the situation in itself, but the amount of time you allow your body to rest and recuperate after.
While I am taking a fun spin at the definition of stress at the office, the actual harm you do to your body when you don’t allow enough relaxation after a stressful period can be extremely detrimental to your health, e.g. weight gain, burn out, hair loss, sleeplessness and so on…
The good news: you can control stress
When you look closely at how your body reacts to stress and what triggers it, you might be surprised to learn that you could have trained yourself to ‘stress out’ or you might just need a different way to go about things at the office to remain the ‘cool kid’.
Here are my top 10 tips to re-train your inner caveman for office survival.
#1 TRACK YOUR OWN T-REX SITUATION
For whatever you consider stress in your work environment it helps to actually keep a journal of it all. Write down your stressors for two weeks and identify what triggers stress and how you react to it.
This will help you to demystify your current situation and to gain control. You will be able to eventually see patterns in your behavior and it will allow you to adjust them.
It also helps to go over these habits with someone you trust. A second opinion is always helpful. In case you are interested I can help you with that as well.
#2 BEAT T-REX WITH EXERCISE AND HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES
Instead of turning to alcohol and fast food for the quick fix after work, the only way to maintain a healthy attitude and body is to exercise regularly. I’m not saying don’t enjoy life, but when you hit a bottle of white wine after work on most days, you might want to reconsider your healthy life approach.
So do yourself the favor and at least go for a 30 minute walk after work (without your phone in your hand) and turn off your mind. My suggestion would be to hit the gym twice a week for an hour.
#3 EXTABLISH BOUNDARIES
It is so easy to be available for everyone you know 24/7 these days. Plus the overload of social media, emails and text messages is a lot to handle.
Be sure to allow time for your mind to focus at work and to be present. Try to avoid the multitasking between your office and private life, especially when you are working towards a deadline.
So turn off your private cell phone as well as your social media accounts during work hours. In case your private life demands you to be available set your phone accordingly so that only certain people can reach you at all times.
#4 BYE-BYE INTERRUPTIONS
While you are working you usually encounter many different kinds of interruptors boosting your stress level: the urgent deadline that was rushed in, another important phone call, an unscheduled meeting, your boss stopping by, some more emails, you name it.
And yes, you might not be able to control them hitting you, but you can control your immediate response. Set yourself a preset response to cut off the interruptor following the urgency of the cause. You might not be able to tell your boss to come back later, but you can easily make a call or answer emails later.
#5 SCHEDULE YOUR DAY IN ADVANCE
Most of us go through the day thinking that “push, push, push” is the most effective way to get everything done. Unfortunately it will eventually wear you out. You will find yourself in a multitasking nirvana, where you do a lot of things, but you don’t necessarily get a lot of things done.
(In case you missed my post on how to schedule your day in advance, you can read more about it here).
#6 PRIORITIES SHOULD STAY A PRIORITY
With everything you are dealing with during your work day it is critical to understand your main priorities and the responsibility of your position at all time.
It might be nice to help out at the printer when there are technical issues, but it might not be helpful for your own to do list. Do yourself the favor and keep your priorities in mind.
#7 BE YOUR OWN MENTOR INSTEAD OF WORST CRITIC
I have witnessed it so many times that coworkers were being extremely harsh and critical of themselves after a poor presentation and meeting.
But why? Instead of kicking yourself to the curb for maybe not delivering 100%, try to acknowledge your mistake and pump yourself up. You just learned a lesson and you can make it better next time! See the positive and feel proud of your gained knowledge.
#8 SUPPORT AND INFLUENCE OTHERS
As rewarding it might seem to be the best in your team you should never be a lonesome rider. The ties and bonds you grow throughout your career will stay with you for the rest of your life and they will define how others see you.
So you might think: ‘How on earth is this helping me while I am coping with stress?’
Well, it is very simple: when you genuinely help others during their stressful situation a lot of this supportive energy will come back to you when stress hits you hard.
#9 BE THE COOL KID
As much as I love to always be on top of things I sometimes feel frustrated and angry at a situation and sometimes even a person. I guess no one is perfect. Nevertheless, when this happens I usually walk around the block for 5 minutes and freshen up my mind.
Taking deep breaths and relaxing the shoulders as I walk is the best medication to cool to shake of stress asap. In case you cannot leave the office, simply go to the next empty meeting room and take a minute or two to yourself. You will feel calmer and more focused immediately.
#10 SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP
One of those no-brainers perhaps but believe me when I tell you: your work will suffer tremendously when you don’t sleep enough over several weeks or even months.
At my worst I would sleep the most 4 hours a night prior to fashion shows. Believe me, the quality of my work with not sleeping enough and my health took a toll. So you might not feel it now, but – oh boy – you will get quite a big bill by depriving your body of sleep .
Ready, set, go!
I hope some of the tips help you to boost your relaxed work life.
Can’t wait for your feedback!
With so much love,