Monday, December 15, 2008

"Ten Quick Tips for Managing At Work Stress"

1. Don’t procrastinate! Finish difficult tasks before noon. Save the more enjoyable portion of your work for the later part of the day. This will bring a sense of accomplishment and give you something to look forward to, while keeping your batteries charged.

2. Keep a clean work area, (this ensures you can find what you need easily and will save valuable time.) There is nothing worse than a cluttered workspace when you are frustrated or in a hurry!

3. Take short breaks through out the day to stretch. Concentrate on the neck, shoulder and back. These areas are where we tend to hold most of our tension. Here are some quick easy stretches you might try. No stretches are recommended if you have limitations from a doctor for these areas!

• Roll your head three times to the right: repeat three times left.
• Press chin to chest as far as comfort allows, then tilt your head back letting it rest on your back. Hold stretches for a duration of ten seconds each, repeat two to three times. This stretches not only the neck but also the muscles along the spine.
• Lift shoulders toward ears. Tense them for ten seconds, then let them drop to your sides. Repeat 8 to 10 times, for maximum effectiveness.
• For your back, stand with feet slightly apart, then slowly (with head down), roll upper body slowly forward, letting arms hang like an ape. They may touch the floor but the goal is only for you to get a good stretch through the length of your back.
Remember: while doing these stretches, be sure to breath deeply and relax. Do not try to force yourself into any position that is uncomfortable. Strain is the easiest way to cause injury ! ‘Rule of thumb’, always use common sense!

4. Eat, snack and drink sensibly. Making healthy choices in these areas will help provide you with the energy you need to last all day. Try to limit your caffeine and sugar intake. These foods may give you an initial boost but will do nothing for your energy long term and will eventually cause stress and fatigue.

5. Use half of your lunch break to take a short walk. Whether you go alone or invite a friend, this is a good opportunity to make a mini escape from the work environment. Who knows you may start a healthy trend that your employer will be grateful for. All smart employers know that healthy employees will save them money due to minimized absenteeism.

6. Listen to relaxing music. Music has a powerful ability to influence our emotions. Choosing the right music can keep you feeling calm and positive during the work day. Most places of employment don’t mind if you listen to music, so long as it is not offensive and is kept to a volume which does not disturb co-workers or clients. If you are unsure if this is appropriate in your place of work the best policy is always to ask.

7. Use your nose to reduce stress. Wear a favorite relaxing perfume. Mix a purse size spray bottle with water and your favorite calming, essential oil. Try lavender, not only is it a relaxing scent but it is also a natural antibiotic, antiseptic, antidepressant, sedative, and detoxifier. If you are shy about spraying it in the area you are working, use it to wipe down your desk or put a drop on a Kleenex and in hail for ten to twelve seconds for a relaxing pick me up! You may also wish to try other options such as an electric candle warmer with your favorite candle. Be creative, just don’t over look the asset that is your nose!

8. Lighten up! Read the funnies from the morning paper or tell a co-worker an appropriate joke. ‘Laughter really is the best medicine’ for stress. Laughter promotes a lower blood pressure and heart rate.

9. Brighten your work area up with plants. Bring a little of the outdoors indoor. Plants are a good idea for many reasons but we will just stick to that they are pretty and cheer people up. You should take some time to consider what type of plants will work best for your office. You will have to give some thought to lighting and how often you will commit to watering them.

10. Use pictures to reduce your work stress. Adding photos of family, friends and pets to your work space can offer unspoken words and feelings of encouragement during a particularly trying day

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