One problem that pretty much every human on earth is facing is knowing how to deal with stress at work.
Things were already challenging but with the corona pandemic, the dynamics of the work environment have completely changed. On top of the increases work pressure and stress, the entire structure and system have changed too.
Some people have to work from home for the first time in their life. Others have to observe extreme caution inside their offices. All this while there is a constant risk of health, too.
Everybody is a victim of this crisis. So, read on to find out how you can deal with stress at work in a time like this.
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Cause of the Increasing Stress
Work stress has always been a thing. But why has it become so much worse now?
Let’s first understand the causes so it’s easier for you to implement the resolving tips.
Firstly, there’s a panic of the unknown. All of this is new for everyone. Nobody knows what’s exactly going, how long it will go on, and what to expect. This alone is taking a toll on everyone’s mental health.
Since the mind is already preoccupied with this issue, it’s hard to focus on work. Moreover, the chances of being at risk of infection are also causing a distraction.
The biggest worry for everyone around the world is to stay safe and protect their loved ones. Work tasks are not even among the highest concerns.
Although you’re not thinking about it, the stress is building up in the back of your mind. If not today, you’ll have to tackle all the work tomorrow. Work is piling up while focus and motivation are dropping low.
It’s worse for people who have to work from home. The change in environment, additional distractions, and the general aura of bad vibes are affecting productivity.
All of this sounds scary and unmanageable. However, a few efforts in the right direction can fix your productivity, attention, and motivation. Once you tackle these factors, you can reduce the stress that is connected to work.
How to Reduce Stress Naturally Amid the Crisis
There are some easy to implement tactics that minimize stress, in general. Moreover, on top of that, using the following tips will get the person back on track during this pandemic.
These tips will help you get into the workflow to encourage productivity. You’ll feel at ease once your mind starts focusing on the ‘normal’ things.
This will naturally encourage a sense of serenity that relaxes your body and hence, fewer stress hormones are released.
Voila! That’s all it takes to get rid of your built-up work stress!
We’ve all gone through weeks of lockdown. Work was put off in most cases. Work hours were cut down. The overall shift to get used to the new work culture caused a slump.
Therefore, the work has piled up now more than ever before. With the stressful news coming your way constantly, it’s really hard to keep up.
So, to keep things in control, you have to prioritize. A well-organized to-do list should keep you on track. Use this list to pre-plan your day, week, and even month.
Other than organizing your work, prioritize positive things over negative ones. Turn off the news for a while. Do not expose yourself to things that will make you feel sad or stressed. Prioritize your work and other tasks that you did before the corona days to feel as normal as possible.
2. Get Clear Instructions
As previously mentioned, everybody’s mind is jumbled up during this crisis. So, it’s natural if you don’t understand your work tasks as proactively as you did before.
There’s nothing to worry about here. Keep asking questions unless all your queries are answered. If you find it hard to retain information, ask your superiors to send you a written instructional document. Do whatever makes you feel most comfortable.
With clear instructions, you’ll have a clear route to follow. That will keep you from feeling lost, which helps deal with stress at work.
3. Challenge Yourself but Don’t Overdo It
In this time, you shouldn’t let yourself slack. Do not give up challenging or hard tasks just because you think you’ve got an excuse to let them go. Keep learning and growing in this time so that you come out of this pandemic more valuable and useful.
Simultaneously, if you’re afraid that doing too much will make you more stressed or affect your mental peace, let it go. Basically, say no. But also, say yes. Maintain a healthy balance.
4. Balanced Nutrition and Sleep Cycle
Not only is sleep and nutrition needed for your mind to do well in your work tasks, but it also boosts your immune system.
During this time, you need to feel healthy. A stronger immune system will keep you strong against the virus so you don’t have to worry about getting infected and can focus on your work more.
How to Boost Productivity When Working From Home
A huge challenge is to create a work-like environment in your home physically and mentally. If you can reciprocate a similar vibe, you won’t feel as much of a difference and that will put your mind to ease.
Here are a few simple things you can do to naturally encourage a work mindset even when you’re at home.
1. Distinguish Your Workspace
Previously, you physically entered a different space to work. The commute and then the change in the natural environment caused the gears in your mind to shift too. This automatically let your productive side take over the lazy side.
You should distinguish your workspace in your home too so that a similar mindset is encouraged. Sit in a corner where you don’t sleep, lounge, or eat. Even if you live in a one-room apartment, grab a chair, and put it in a new spot.
2. Dress Up
Just like your brain prepared itself when you entered a different physical space, your mind also got ready to work when you dressed up for work. The little amount of time you spent getting ready was the time when your mind woke up and got set for work.
Continue to follow the same regime as you did when you went to the office. You don’t necessarily have to wear a 3-piece suit. However, change out of your pajamas. Take a shower. Put on some makeup if that’s what you did before.
You don’t have to follow a strict regime. Just do enough that gives your mind the idea that it’s time to go to work.
3. Take Enough Breaks
In a brick-and-mortar office, you’re usually not in control of breaks. However, at home, you have this luxury. Considering the higher stress levels, you should incorporate enough breaks throughout the day.
Not doing so will take a toll on your mind because you’re exhausting yourself.
Don’t overdo it. Just take a 5-minute break from your screen after every hour. After a couple of hours, take a snack break. Do whatever suits you but make sure to maintain a balance.
4. Stay Connected
The corona pandemic has affected social relations in the worst possible way. One great thing about an office is that you get to connect with colleagues. Now that physical connections aren’t possible, take out time for online socializing.
Whether it is an online meeting or a casual online catchup session, continue to make an effort to stay connected. This will keep your stress at bay.
5. Minimize Distractions
If you live with your family and have kids at home, working from home can be a nightmare. But you have to be strict. Do not let anyone enter your workspace while you’re working.
Have all your work essentials in your home office so you don’t have to leave during work. Keep your work device, internet, and charger within reach. Have water and snacks nearby too.
Put your phone away if it’s not needed for work. Otherwise, just log out of your social media accounts on your mobile and laptop so that notifications don’t distract you.
Sit away from a window if you’re likely to get distracted by the outdoors or sit near a window if you like to get some sunlight. Reduce the noise around you, sit in a comfortable chair, and do whatever needs to be done to keep you attentive.
Everyone in the world is going through a hard time these days. You shouldn’t feel bad or alone at this time. Understandably, work stress has built up and gotten worse.
The unforeseen circumstances have forced everyone to find unusual solutions to deal with stress at work. You should do the same.
Most importantly, do not worry yourself. Like everything else, humans will adapt to this too. All you have to do it stay strong, stay safe and give this situation some time to settle.
More Tips on How to Deal With Stress at Work
We’ve all experienced the effects of stress in one form or another. Feeling stressed out sucks, especially when it becomes chronic.
Stress affects everything from your digestion, immune function, cognition, and mood. In simplest terms, stress is your body’s response to changes that take place in your environment that are deemed ‘unsafe.’
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a perfect environment for a full-blown stress meltdown. It is normal to feel stressed right now. The world feels like it’s upside down—literally.
On top of that, the uncertainty and constant health threats surrounding COVID-19 have led to a surge in mental health issues. A study found that 70% of the U.S. population have identified as moderately to severely distressed since the onset of the pandemic. Can you relate?
It has never been more important to master our emotional health. The pandemic has shown us that, while we can’t control the external world, we always have control over how we respond to it.
Everyone experiences stress, but not everyone deals with it in the same way. The good news is that you have the power to effectively manage your stress so that your world doesn’t feel like it’s falling apart every time you’re hit with a challenge.
Before you can do that, it’s important to understand how the mind-body connection works.
The Mind-Body Connection and Stress
Despite popular opinion, the mind and the body are not two separate entities. Your physical body impacts your emotions and visa versa. As you can imagine, if there is disharmony in the body, there will also be disharmony in the mind, which in turn will influence your stress levels.
One study found that the type of energy patterns that are carried by certain words and intentions can cause physical changes in DNA structure which become the building blocks of your body.
Have you ever felt a nauseous feeling in your stomach when you’re anxious about something? If so, you’ve experienced the mind-body connection at play.
The next time you find yourself saying something negative, remember that your thoughts determine how your body behaves. Negative emotions contribute to dis-ease in the body. Be mindful of the words you speak because your body is always listening to you. What you think, you become.
The Effects of Stress on the Mind and Body
Life is a rollercoaster ride which means that stress will happen. You cannot hide from it. The best thing that you can do is take preventative measures to ensure that stress doesn’t wreak havoc on your mind and body over the long-term. Here are 3 lesser-known effects of stress.
1. Weakened Immune System
Your health is your wealth. Without you, you have nothing. If you don’t have a strong immune system, your body won’t be able to fight off disease and/or viruses.
COVID-19 has taught us how important it is to take care of our immune systems. If you want to maintain a strong immune system get a good night’s sleep, do regular exercise, eat healthy foods, take immune-boosting supplements, and commit to relaxation practices. This is how you will train your immune system to work for you instead of against you.
2. Gut Problems
There is a strong correlation between digestive health and stress. The gut and the brain are constantly communicating and sending signals to one another.
Have you ever felt like you were punched in the gut after receiving awful news? Have you ever felt butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous about something? These reactions happen for a reason.
An imbalanced intestine can send signals to the brain, just as an imbalanced brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach pains can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.
So, the next time you have an unexplained stomach ache, your stress levels could be the culprit. Avoid foods that can irritate your stomach and aggravate the symptoms of stress, like refined sugars and fried foods. I like to take acidophilus regularly which helps to increase healthy bacteria in the gut.
Lastly, I encourage you to create a daily Kundalini yoga practice. Kundalini yoga is great for stimulating the flow of energy in the body. There are specific Kundalini exercises that support healthy digestion, some of which include Breath of Fire, Stretch Pose, and Sat Kriya.
Stress is a normal response to positive and negative life experiences. However, if you have trouble coping with stress over the long-term, you can put yourself at risk for developing depression. Sustained or chronic stress leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol, and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine.
When you experience heightened levels of stress, you are more likely to experience a low mood. Unfortunately, a low mood will make you more prone to not engaging in healthy activities, like exercising and eating well. As a result, your mood will suffer even more.
This toxic spiraling effect is what causes a lot of people to experience symptoms of depression, like fatigue, anxiety, loss of appetite, or in severe cases, suicidal thoughts.
COVID-19 has put a lot of people at risk for depression. With everything that is currently going on in the world, people are more susceptible to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness which can precipitate the onset of depression.
One of the best ways to prevent yourself from falling into a spiral of sadness is to seek professional help. A psychologist or a coach can help you navigate through the difficult times and give you tools for reducing stress and anxiety.
Secondly, create a daily mindfulness-based practice and make it a non-negotiable. Mindfulness can be in the form of meditation, yoga, dancing, tai chi, or breathwork.
Practicing mindfulness helps you reprogram negative thoughts and reassess difficult experiences with a more calm mind.
Don’t Allow Stress to Take Over Your Life
You have two choices—you can either let stressors suffocate your health and well-being, or you can transform your wounds into wisdom and rewrite a new story.
If you’re scared, it’s okay. You’re human. Allow yourself to feel everything, but don’t lose yourself in the mess. Take a deep breath and trust that your strength is greater than any struggle.