Scroll to the bottom to view the full infographic.
I was recently contacted by a Content Marketing Firm asking if I would be interested in sharing the attached infographic, created by The Jacobson Group, on ways to reduce stress at work. I have written about stress and its damaging effects, provided suggestions on ways to reduce stress through aromatherapy and herbs, and I have covered different ways in which we can manage stress including self-care, being in nature, and dealing with negative thoughts, among others.
But, I have not written about stress at work, and how to manage it. Given that most of us spent most of our daily lives at work, this is essential to any stress management approach.
I will be straight with you. I don’t advocate for The Jacobson Group, and have not worked with them. But, I think their message is worth sharing. The infographic is geared towards employers and focuses on the benefits a stress management approach can have for their employees, but even if we are employees or if we work for ourselves, this infographic holds value.
Why Stress is Necessary
Nikki St. Martin, the VP of Marketing for The Jacobson Group, explained the following about stress:
Stress is an inevitable part of the workplace, and it can be good in many instances. After all, without stress, we wouldn’t feel the drive to accomplish our objectives. It’s the stress of wanting to solve a problem or achieve some goal that pushes us to do our best and succeed. Yet even though some stress is to be expected in the work environment, too much stress can be a serious problem. When your employees are too stressed to focus on their work, for any reason, your productivity can take a hit. Employees who feel stressed may take time just to clear their heads, or they may begin to lose their zeal for their jobs. A certain amount of stress in the workplace fuels the dynamics that lead to success. However, employers also need to be aware of when there’s a toxic level of stress in their workplaces. Reducing stress in the workplace is an important skill for employers to have. There are numerous techniques they can use that are unobtrusive and inexpensive. (Joe Harks, personal communication, January 29, 2018)
What Nikki says is true. Stress is an inevitable component of work. In fact, it is an unavoidable and integral component of life. We all face it, and we all have to learn to deal with it. Although a certain amount of stress is healthy, too much stress is detrimental to our body, mind, and spirit. Taking a proactive approach to dealing with stress is essential to our health and happiness.
Ways to Reduce Stress at Work
The Jacobson Group lists several ways for employers to reduce stress at work. Scroll below to view the full infographic as they presented it. I will re-interpret these ways to reduce stress at work, and explain how we can apply them to our lives, regardless of whether or not we have employees.
- Step away from the screen- getting away from any type of screen, whether it is a computer, phone, or TV is important. It gives our brains a break, and it gives our eyes a break. In fact, for the sake of our eye health, we should look up from anything we are doing, even reading a paper, every 15 or so minutes.
- Create a social atmosphere- any type of social interaction fosters connection. Connections help us feel that we belong and eventually leads us to feel happier.
- Meditate- meditation can help us to reduce stress, anxiety, and increase focus and productivity. We don’t have to meditate for long. Even 1 or 2-minute long meditations can have lasting effects.
- Get up and walk- sitting for long periods of time is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Getting up and moving regularly is vital to our longevity. Nikki explained:
One of the simplest ways employers can help manage the stress level of their employees is to encourage them to take periodic breaks away from their workstations. Even stepping away for five minutes every few hours can provide tremendous relief to employees and keep them from feeling overwhelmed. With a quick break every so often, employees can return to their work with renewed focus. (Joe Harks, personal communication, January 29, 2018)
- Stretch regularly- this one goes hand-in-hand with the above. Sedentary lifestyles lead to tension in the body, particularly in our hamstrings, hips, lower back, shoulders, chest, and neck. Regularly stretching these areas can provide relief.
- Open the door- this refers to employers keeping an open-door policy, and Nikki explains:
Employers also can make their workplaces more stress-free by creating environments in which employees can feel free to bring their concerns to their superiors through an open-door policy. Simply opening the lines of communication with employees can be a good way to give them an outlet for stress relief. When employees feel their employers are listening to them and their concerns, they’re less likely to feel stressed by their jobs. (Joe Harks, personal communication, January 29, 2018)
This may not be applicable if we do not have employees, but it is relevant in that making ourselves accessible to others, including our peers and colleagues, helps build bonds and connections.
- Communicate- communicating what is going on helps us handle and relieve stress. It is not just important to be accessible for others to come to us, but also for us to know that we will lead less stressful lives if we reach out to others when we need support.
- Healthy snacks- in times of stress we predominantly turn to foods that are not healthy. It is natural and normal for us to do this, as often unhealthy foods provide us comfort. However, healthy alternatives can also provide comfort, and often all that is needed is to make sure we have these choices available to us in advance. That way, when the need comes we reach for the healthy option instead of the unhealthy one.
- Flexibility- we are all trying to do our best, and sometimes all we need is to understand that we cannot do it all. Being flexible is about recognizing this and adjusting plans, schedules, strategies, and timings, accordingly.
I understand that all of these ways to reduce stress are easier said than done. And rather than trying to implement them all, pick one to start, and work on one at a time. Once you feel comfortable with that one time, then try another one. For instance, start by taking regular breaks away from our screens. How I have done it is by starting the day by drinking a full glass of water. Eventually, I have to get up to use the restroom, and when I do that, I drink another full glass of water. Not only does it keep me hydrated, but it forces me to get up from my workstation regularly throughout the day. I will close with more from Nikki:
These and many other simple ideas can go a long way to creating a stress-free working environment. The following guide contains numerous suggestions you can utilize in your own workplace. Review it and help your employees cut down on the stress that may be limiting their potential. (Joe Harks, personal communication, January 29, 2018)
Courtesy of The Jacobson Group.