Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stressed About Office Work? Here’s How to Relax

Posted by: Dr. Mercola Identifying Your Sources of Stress

The first step to dealing with work-related stress is identifying the source of it.
There are two types of factors that cause work-related stress, internal and external. Once you determine the types of stress factors affecting you, you will be able to effectively find coping strategies to dealing with it.
Some external factors may include:
  • Personality conflicts with a co-worker or dealing with a difficult supervisor.
  • Technology overload--attached to work through e-mail, pagers, cell phones and faxes.
  • Understaffed due to cutbacks and downsizing.
  • Lack of training or supervision.
  • Working an excess number of hours and finding you are spending more time at work than at home.
Internal factors include:
  • Perfectionism--setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.
  • Having unrealistic expectations of your job.
  • Taking on too much and ignoring your limitations.
Finding effective ways of dealing with stress while you’re at work can help you improve your sense of control over your life at work and better prepare you to plan and prioritize your time at work and at home.
How to Deal With Stress at Your Desk

If your job involves working on a computer all day, you may not be able to find the time to take many breaks away from your desk. However, for your mental health it is important to make a point of practicing occasional stress reduction techniques throughout the day. This will allow you to clear your mind so you’re able to produce quality work and reenergize your body physically. For those aches and pains and moments of stress during your workday, you could try these simple tips sitting right at your desk:
  • Raise your shoulders and try to touch your ears. Stay in this position for a couple of seconds, then release. Try this about 10 times or until your shoulders feel less tense.
  • For at least 30 seconds, shake your wrist.
  • Take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds, then slowly exhale. Do this five times.
  • Quickly rub the palms of your hands together until they get hot, then close your eyes and place your palms over your eyes. You will find the heat relaxes the eyeballs.
De-Stressing at the End of the Workday
Unwinding from the stresses of your workday should begin before you leave the office. Here are some great tips that will help you leave stress at the office where it belongs:
  • Start winding down from your workday 30 minutes before you leave for the day. You can do some professional reading, straightening or cleaning your office area or putting away files. This should be any task that is not demanding and can be done leisurely.
  • Make a tomorrow’s to-do list and put a star by two items that will give you a sense of accomplishment.
  • If you have to deal with traffic on your way home, try picking up books on tape or a comedy tape. Music is great therapy so why not put on your favorite CD and belt it out.
  • Aromatherapy produces a calming effect, particularly the scent of lavender, which you could spray on your dashboard or buy a lavender-scented air freshener.
  • Take some winding down time for yourself when you get home. This could be some kind of aerobic activity or reading a book or favorite magazine.
  • Put the thoughts from your day out of your mind and get a good night’s sleep.
The Powerful Stress-Relieving Benefits of Exercise
Exercise is also an excellent way to relieve tension and ward off the physical consequences of stress. Studies have shown that during exercise, tranquilizing chemicals, endorphins, are released in the brain. Exercise is a natural way to bring your body pleasurable relaxation and rejuvenation.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Using Humor to Relieve Stress of the Workday
In addition to these tips, many studies have shown that humor has increased work productivity. It has been cited as the best antidote to stress. A good hearty laugh has been proven to increase the immune system’s activity, lower stress hormones and increase the antibody immunoglobulin A, which protects the upper-respiratory tract. Other benefits of humor that make your work environment a more pleasant place to be includes that it shows you are easy to work with, it makes people like you and want to be around you, it enhances your creativity and can change a negative perception into a positive one.
Since stress in the office has become such a prominent issue in our society, people have resorted to seeking a variety of products from the practical to the bizarre to help alleviate their stress at the office.
These products range from:
  • Punching bags
  • Desk pillows
  • Stress relief aromatherapy kits for the office
  • Having a dog at the office
  • Essential oils in vaporizers
  • Stress reduction office massages
With stress-related complaints accounting for 75 percent to 90 percent of all physician office visits and all of the medical ailments related to it, choosing not to deal with stress is not an option. Sleep, exercise and following a nutritious eating program are the foundation of relieving stress and maintaining your optimal health both in and out of the office.
For people constantly "on the go" and contending with overwhelming schedules daily, I recommend you consider the book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. In this book you will find practical and realistic approaches to improving your personal productivity. It is also available on audiocassette, which is great because you could listen to it while in traffic and discover ways to effectively manage your time and prioritize your goals.
(The best thing to do for dealing with stress is to put God first--prioritize your spiritual life. Have a spiritual plan and try to stick with it at least 80% of the time. You will definitely start to progress and with progression comes peace. You see things clearly. Things that used to stress you don't. Life is short the only thing that matters is loving God and doing His holy will so you can get to heaven. This isn't something to stress about either.)

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