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10 Secrets to De-Stressing at Work
Tight neck, sore muscles, irritability, extreme exhaustion…all of these symptoms are caused by extreme stress. Working moms always try to balance work and home to lessen the amount of stress they feel, but even if you love your job, you still feel extreme stress. I love, love, love my job…but there are days where I feel like I really need to take a break. I feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and irritable. It’s not that I’m having a bad day… I just get stressed. We might have ordered merchandise, but the order came in wrong. It may be because we’ve had a busy day or we had unhappy customers.
If you feel this stress long enough, you start to resent your job. The job doesn’t change, but your perception and attitude towards the job changes. Since we can’t all quit our jobs just because the stress gets to be too much, you have to find a way to decrease that stress. Here are the secrets to de-stressing at work.
1. Organize Your Desk
Organize your desk! Hundreds of articles relay the importance of organizing your home to lessen your stress. It’s the same for work. If your desk is a mess, even if you know exactly what’s in the mess, it’s still stressful. You can’t concentrate as well when your files are scattered all over your desk. I get way more distracted and fuzzy-headed when my desk is a mess, even if I know where everything is. When I organize it and clean everything up, I am automatically able to focus way better.
2. Declutter Your Desk
Don’t only organize the mess, declutter the things you don’t need. Even little things like organizing your pens/highlighters can help, especially when you realize half of them are dried out. Do you have files that have been sitting on your desk so long that you don’t even remember why they are there? If it’s something you are going to need in the future, schedule it in your calendar and put it away. When you need it, you can go pull the file.
3. Buy a Plant
I’m not a Feng Shui expert, but I read somewhere that having a living plant on your desk helps improve your mood. I also read that bamboo plants help clean the air. I combined both tips and bought a bamboo plant. The label said it was a “Lucky Bamboo” plant…I figured that couldn’t hurt. It really works!! Every time I look at my plant, I instantly feel happy. Plastic plants don’t work… when I started the decorators added fake plants. I never got the same happy feelings as I do with my little bamboo plant.
4. Focus on Aromatherapy
For Christmas, my boss bought me a diffuser necklace with Lavender essential oil. I mixed a few drops with a few drops of Peppermint. It instantly boosts my mood and makes me feel SO much less stressed and I can focus better. I rarely go anywhere without my diffuser necklace. When I start to feel stressed, I sniff my necklace and feel so much better. Try it…it has made a world of difference. You can find them HERE.
5. Make To-Do Lists
After you’ve put your purse away, your food in the fridge, and you’ve made a cup of coffee…read through your emails and make a to-do list. Writing everything down helps organize the work in your head, and ensure you won’t forget anything. I always thought that I didn’t need to-do lists because I could remember everything. One, you won’t remember everything, and two, you can concentrate more fully on each task because you aren’t having to remember 20 things you have to do. You can get super creative and color code everything by priority…but I just like pretty colors so I pick four colors and just write every task in a different color and alternate the colors. I also add blocks before the task so I can check one off after I complete them.
6. Smile at Everyone Who Walks in the Door
Make a goal to smile at everyone who walks in the door…. even delivery people. We have UPS and FedEx drivers walk in twice a day…each. I’ve created great (but professional) interactions with the drivers. Having that great communication throughout the day really helps lighten the atmosphere. I love watching someone walk through the door with a bored, rushed look on their face…but leave with a smile on their face. I feel like I performed a good deed for the day and it causes me to smile a little more for the rest of the day.
7. Take a Break
Don’t try to spend the entire day at your desk working non-stop. Even if you love what you do, you will get burned out. Get up, walk around …. take a break. If you can, walk outside for a few minutes. Fortunately, our mail box is at the end of our plaza, so walking to check the mail gives me a few minutes of getting outside in the fresh air. It’s only a few minutes but it definitely reduces my stress. I see the dental hygienists that work next door do the same thing.
8. Take a Lunch
I’m really bad about taking an hour for lunch. If I’m sitting at my desk, I’m going to work. When I’m able to leave work, and go to the gym for an hour, I feel SOOOOOOO much less stressed for the rest of the afternoon. I feel good because I got an extra workout in, but physically I don’t feel the effects of stress. My muscles aren’t sore, I can focus better, and I’m way more motivated. Even if you can’t go to the gym, leave your desk for the hour, even if you go somewhere to read a book. It really helps.
9. Leave Home at Home, and Work at Work
I have a bad habit of running all of my work tasks through my brain at home…and all of my home tasks at work. I end up with a tornado of chaos swirling through my brain. I end up not being able to focus on anything. Now, when I get to work, I force myself to focus on work. When I leave work, I force myself to stop thinking about work, and I do this by….
10. Complete a Brain Dump at the End of the Day
You will have days where you have to leave work until the next day. I know some working moms are able to work late to complete everything …but I’m not one of them. I don’t have anyone else who is able to pick up my children so at 5:00 pm, I have to leave no matter what. I don’t have a choice. If it’s not done, it gets left until the next day. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t like leaving work so I try to be as efficient and productive as possible, but there are still days where things don’t get done.
Do a brain dump before you leave. I know what you’re thinking…a what? I have a notebook where I keep my to-do lists (see #4). I spend the last 5 or 10 minutes starting my to-do list for the next day and I write down all of the tasks that didn’t get done, or that I know will need to get done. No matter how small the task, write it down. I even write down “Read Through/Organize Emails”. It may seem redundant because it’s something I have to do every day…but it helps to get all of the thoughts out of the day. When I leave, my brain is empty and I can focus on my family….and the hundreds of tasks that I have to complete at home.
I’m always looking for ways to de-stress at work…what suggestions work for you?