We all feel anxious at one time or another and many times our jobs contribute to, or even increase, our anxiety levels. Some reasons for having high levels of workplace anxiety can include additional responsibilities being given to us at work, lack of job satisfaction, worries about the recession, lack of a feeling of job security…and the list goes on. While a little stress in our lives is a normal thing, excessive stress and anxiety can cause health issues and can hinder our job performance.
Here are a few things that I do throughout the day to break the anxiety, depression, and overeating cycle. How can we better manage our workplace stress and our eating habits in order to become healthier in both mind and body? There are several steps we can take to help reduce workplace stress that will also help to curb our desire to numb ourselves through comfort eating.
Help control your stress levels by performing the following actions during your work day:
- Take a breather. Get up from your station, cube or where ever you are at and walk. If you are a cube rat like myself and can get up whenever you want, take a lap around your area or go outside. If you do not have that much freedom, then go to the bathroom, water cooler, or find a reason to walk to the copier or whatever apparatus you can walk to and just walk quickly and get your heart pumping. When you move swiftly at work, or with exercise, it your body releases serotonin in your brain and helps to make you feel more relaxed and happy.
- Perform stretching and meditation exercises in the morning before you go to work. Meditation can help reduce stress levels, calm ones nerves, and can help you get prepared for the workday ahead. Stretching exercises can also help by getting your body ready to keep up the hectic pace at work, and can also help relax the body and mind.
- Accept that no one is perfect, and that your boss does not expect perfection—he just expects your best efforts. Learning and growing from your mistakes is all that you can do. Set personal goals and standards, and take pride in yourself when you meet or exceed those goals.
- Reduce or eliminate your caffeine intake. Caffeine gives you a burst of energy, but excessive amounts of caffeine can contribute to feelings of anxiety and stress. I use those drink mixes for your water that give you a little caffeine and B vitamins. So see, I didn’t completely eliminate caffeine, I just cut down. Everything doesn’t always have to happen at once. Baby steps!
- Talk to a co-worker or supervisor when you feel overwhelmed or stressed. Oftentimes just vocalizing our stressors and fears helps to reduce the level of stress we are feeling. “Getting it off your chest” is a good way to calm ourselves down and refocus our minds.
- Laugh! They say that laughter is the best medicine for the soul. Exchange funny stories with a co-worker or watch a funny video to relieve tension and reduce stress.
All of these actions are things I do on a daily basis to help with stresses from work and it is what has worked for me for the last 11 years as I have worked in the high stress level of the corporate world. I don’t always do them all perfectly, nor do I perform every action every day, but I have found that just doing some of the above named actions will help give you that push you need to get through the day. Try just doing one of these during your work day and see what works for you.
Please let me know if there are other things that you do to help relieve stress and anxiety at work or if any of these tips I have used helps in any way.