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These tips will help you cope with work-related stress

If your body is telling you it needs recovery time, listen to it.

While work comes with numerous benefits, it can also come with one big downfall – stress.

Although being stressed about your job is natural at times, it can become detrimental to both your physical and mental health if you end up suffering from chronic work stress. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t love your job.  On the contrary, stress can still be present when we love what we do!  Moreover, chronic stress may be the result of several work-related issues.  Whether it is a high-demanding job, a low salary or lack of support – work stress is very real.  So what can help you cope better?

Get to know yourself

What is it that makes you stress at work? Is it a particular work meeting? Is it the long hours? How do you react to stress?  Can you tell when you’re stressed? Are there any signs that you can identify when you’re stressed?  Do you know what helps?

Develop healthy coping skills

When we are feeling stressed and are on the verge of a burn-out, we tend to make things worse by treating our body and mind with unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as eating junk-food, smoking cigarettes or turning to alcohol;  paving the way for an inevitable vicious cycle.

Instead, try to make healthy choices, such as eating nutritious food, getting physically active (be it exercise, yoga or a short walk) and getting enough sleep.

Maintain healthy boundaries

In the modern workplace, it may be difficult to leave work at work and shut off when you are out of the office due to technological advances such as emails and instant messaging. 

However, it is up to you to set healthy boundaries and make sure to try your best to maintain this distance.  For example, avoid downloading your work email on your private phone, as you’ll get notifications even when you’re at home, or during the weekend. 

A simple small step like this can make a big difference.  Remember, you are not meant to be available 24/7.

Appreciate stress recovery

Stress recovery refers to the process of restoring symptoms such as anxiety and exhaustion back to pre-stress levels.  This can only happen if you know yourself well and understand what works for you, while also actually putting these practices in action. 

Knowing when you need to recover from stress is also important.  Consequently, if we do this when we are already burnt out, it is much more difficult to achieve.

Therefore, it is important to note that recovery isn’t meant to happen when you are already stressed out – as research shows that if you are already at a stage when you need to recover, it is the more difficult to do so. 

Instead, recovery is an essential part of everyday life.  This will positively impact your overall performance, mood, physical and mental health.  Everybody’s recovery plan looks different, so find what would be well-suited for you.

So what does stress recovery look like?

1 Switch off from work every day: This may look like doing something completely unrelated to work right after you finish and before going home.

2. Take frequent breaks, even as short as 10minutes.

3. Create an environment which encourages recovery: Research suggests that having direct or indirect exposure to nature has great benefits for work stress recovery.  If this is not possible at your office, even looking at nature photography can get the job done.

The bottom line is this: if your body is begging to recover, listen to it. Do not ignore the signals your body may be giving you to slow down or cut down on work responsibilities. After all, leading a balanced lifestyle is a fundamental element of positive mental health.

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