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A few months back, I remember losing my cool in the office. My head felt like it was spinning, my shoulders hurt and I felt like I was drowning. “I can’t do this anymore. Why should I tolerate this any longer?” While I didn’t say anything, these were the thoughts I was thinking when I, somewhat dramatically, walked out of the office and took a brisk walk.
I didn’t see the surprised eyes that followed me. I just wanted that suffocating feeling to go away. Walking to the street was a mistake, though, because it was a busy time and didn’t help me feel relaxed. I somehow felt worse when I got back to the office and luckily a close colleague noticed. He started steering me away from my desk.
“What are you doing?” I asked him and I’m sure I sounded rude. He just nodded and guided me to the rooftop. We sat down and he looked at me and said, “Let’s take a break and stay here for a while. The silence is great when you’re feeling stressed.” He passed no judgement and allowed me to take my time and recollect my thoughts.
Everyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. According to the ‘State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia’ report, one in five Australians has taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed.
You can't always avoid the tensions that occur on the job. Yet, you can take steps to manage work-related stress. So, how can you achieve a stress-free state of being at work?
Track your stressors
Keep a journal with you for a week or two and identify the situations that led to the most stress and how you responded to them. Record your thoughts, feelings, and information about the environment, including the people and circumstances involved, the physical setting, and how you reacted.
Observe whether you raised your voice, got a snack from the vending machine or went for a walk. Making notes can help you find patterns among your stressors and your reactions to them. Ultimately, this may help you detect successful ways of getting back to being stress-free.
Develop healthy responses
If you’re trying to manage your stress with unhealthy habits like the consumption of fast food or alcohol, then you must make the effort to do your best to make healthy choices when you feel the tension rise.
Any form of physical activity, in this regard, is beneficial. You may either do exercises or even yoga to achieve a stress-free state. You could even try and develop a hobby or make time for another activity like reading, listening to music or even spending time with friends.
It’s also important to get between 7-9 hours of sleep every day to better manage your stress.
In today's digital world, it's easy to feel the pressure to be available 24 hours a day. If you work for a business like this, you need to establish some boundaries for yourself. That might even mean making a rule not to check work emails at home or not answering work calls during your downtime.
Learn how to relax
There are many methods you can develop and practise to relax and calm yourself. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness can help you feel stress-free throughout the day.
In this process, mindfulness can help you become stress-free because it’s all about focussing on the present moment. This will help you identify that you are stressed, shift your focus from the stressor without judgement, and feel more relaxed.
Take time to recharge
To avoid the negative effects of chronic stress and burnout, it’s important to take time to replenish and rest your body and mind. This recovery process requires ‘switching off’ from work by having periods when you are neither engaging in work-related activities or even thinking about work!
If possible, I always recommend taking the time to go on vacation, relax, unwind, and recharge. This helps you get back to work feeling invigorated and ready to perform.
Strive to achieve a stress-free state of mind at all times
Though some stressors may be out of your control, achieving a stress-free state of mind at work feels amazing.
Awakened Mind is a mindfulness resource that can help you foster a stress-free state of being at work. You can use our structured and powerful mobile app to learn how to combat stress healthily and successfully.