WORK-LIFE BALANCE / JUN. 07, 2015
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5 Healthy Choices for Reducing Job Related Stress

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Oddly enough, summer can be one of the more stressful times at work. The change in schedules that comes with everything from parents needing to find child care options, to shifting workloads that come with vacations, to changes in office staff with fresh college grads or interns joining the company, can mean a period of adjustment for everyone. So what are some of the best ways to work through that increase in stress until things settle down?

See Also: America’s Growing Bike Sharing Program Offers Mass Transit Alternative

1. Reframing Your Disruptions

There are some disruptions that people know about in advance, such as finding summer childcare and some that can’t really be planned, such as car issues. The more in advance you anticipate scheduled disruptions and plan accordingly, the more in control you will feel when the unplanned stuff rears its ugly head. And when it does, attitude is everything. Looking for a way to reframe the negative can make it more bearable. For example, that unplanned car repair is an inconvenience, but if you’re stuck at the shop waiting for the auto tech to fix it and have a pressing project at work, why not see if working on it remotely using your tablet or phone is an option at a nearby location within walking distance that has Wi-Fi? If it’s an extended repair and you have to find another way to work, here’s a chance to get to know someone at work better and maybe make a new friend, or perhaps enjoy looking into bike sharing as an alternative means of transportation, which can have its own health benefits.

2. Some Food Choices Can Reduce Your Stress Level

As strange as it sounds, the crunchy stuff can actually help alleviate your aggravations. And that’s not exclusive to raw veggies. Other crunchy options include nuts such as pistachios and almonds. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain breads and pastas and oatmeal are great for increasing serotonin in your brain, which is a chemical that helps to fight stress and depression. As for fruits, oranges are a great option because of the vitamin C. Not only does this help to build up your immune system against illness, but vitamin C also helps to reduce stress. Another good vitamin for reducing stress is vitamin B, especially in the form of a vitamin B complex tablet.

3. Get Out From Behind Your Desk

Taking the time to get up from your desk and maybe take a walk around the building on your break, or go outside and walk if it’s a nice day can be a great way to help reduce stress. That 15 minute break or maybe walking through part of lunch is a good start. But to really reduce stress and enjoy a stronger endorphin release in your brain, it’s ideal to spend a minimum of 30 minutes three or four days per week exercising. Other great options for exercise include hiking, gardening, dancing, swimming, working out at the gym and more. Keep in mind that if you enjoy it, you are more likely to stick with it.

4. Talk it Out

If something has you stressed out, it’s helpful to talk it out with someone that you know is a good listener. Not only does talking to a trusted friend or co-worker or supervisor help us to process the events that are causing the stress in the first place, but that processing can sometimes help us to organize our thoughts and also bring about options for solving a problem or problems. Knowing that you have the support of someone who cares about you when you are dealing with difficult circumstances can be a source of encouragement and strength for pushing through to a positive resolution.

5. Write it Out

Another effective way to deal with stress is to journal. You may have to wait until break time if you choose this one, but a journal doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can be small enough to be carried in a purse or stored in a glove box in your car. And you don’t have to worry about what others may think. One nice thing about journaling is that you can not only process on paper and see the solution in writing, but you can also use it as a way to track patterns that may be helpful in knowing how to deal with more complex circumstances.

See Also: 10 Ways to Organize Your Office Space

These are just a few ideas for healthy choices that can be used for dealing with stress at work. Of course, stress is not exclusive to the work place. But when an effort is made to manage stress at work, it often leads to insights into how to manage stress in other areas of life, making for an enhanced quality of life overall for your future.

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