You sit there staring at your computer screen.
This brief pause helps you from pulling out your hair and screaming.
Dealing with stress at work is feels like a gentle punch to the face and a knee to the stomach. It hurts. It’s painful. And it leaves a bruise.
Each stressful blow knocks you down. Some days it’s hard to get back up.
In the world of aircraft maintenance, it’s AOGs, order issues and unreliable vendors. Or maybe it’s your boss putting piles of paperwork on your desk.
Stress comes at an expense...to you and your operation.
Productivity is king, but productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost companies $1,685 per employee a year, or $225.8 billion annually.
In 2008, workplace injuries resulted in 5,214 fatalities in the United States.
Nothing worse than being stressed, careless and losing your life.
And finally, according to a 2010 CareerBuilder report, 44% of workers have gained weight in their current job and nearly one-third (32%) say that work related stress contributed to their weight gain.
Sure, being in 2019 these numbers have changed but it paints a concerning picture.
The strategies you take in coping with stress at work can save your productivity and possibly your life.
3 ways to cope with stress at work
Dealing with stress at work is highly dependent on your environment. If you can manage your environment, you can reduce your stress level.
Change your environment
No matter how much you don't want to admit it, clutter overloads your senses, making you feel stressed.
Organize your desk, throw junk away and keep clutter for the trash.
Adding plants is another great way to change your environment.
“studies show that tasks performed while under the calming influence of nature are performed better and with greater accuracy, yielding a higher quality result. Moreover, being outside in a natural environment can improve memory performance and attention span by twenty percent.”
Breathing is an important habit your body has developed that you often forget about.
Breathing exercises are shown to have immediate effects from altering blood pH levels to changing blood pressure.
Esther Sternberg, researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health, says…
“rapid breathing is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. It's part of the "fight or flight" response — the part activated by stress. In contrast, slow, deep breathing actually stimulates the opposing parasympathetic reaction — the one that calms us down.”
Try this breathing technique:
Sit in a chair facing away from your monitor. Face a wall if you feel more comfortable.
Place your hands on your knees, back straight and legs at a ninety degree angle.
Slowly take a long 10 second deep breath through your nose. Your diaphragm should raise, not your stomach.
Briefly hold your breath…
Exhale slowly for 10 seconds. Your diaphragm and stomach should cave in.
Slowly close your eyes.
Repeat this breathing 9 more times.
Focus only on your breathing. If a thought occurs, simple let it go and continue to focus on your breathing.
Get up and go for a walk
Just like breathing, walking is a habit ingrained into your physiology.
Unfortunately in our office chair epidemic, most of our butts sit in a chair most of the day.
Besides using a stand up desk, getting up and walking is a great tool to coping with stress at work.
It increases endorphins and gets your blood circulating.
So get outside and move for a few minutes every hour, it’s not that hard is it? You can eventually further upgrade this strategy by getting yourself a stand up desk.
BONUS: Practice time management skills
You know how it goes, you have a million things to remember a million and one things to get done.
Managing your time is one of the best ways to combat stress and get your life organized.
Just like de-cluttering your desk, organize your mind with a time management strategy. Here is more on the topic.
Only you can cope with stress and only you can implement these strategies to become a healthier more productive you.