Your manager has given you another project, on top of all the others you are working on.
You’re worried that the deadlines are all creeping up at the same time.
You’re worried you won’t be able to finish on time.
85% of the UK’s adults admit to being stressed regularly, and 39% say that they feel “too stressed in their day to day lives”, so you are not alone (Forth).
Stress can also present itself in many ways, not all of which are emotional.
Stress can also have physical effects like:
- Trouble sleeping/ Insomnia
- Short temper
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system
- Difficulty concentrating
Knowing how stress can impact your body is the first step in identifying there is a problem, and when you realise that stress is not only impacting your working day, but also your social life, friendships and relationships, there is no need to despair as there are many viable solutions to help you battle those stressful feelings.
But what can you do? How can you cope and become resilient to stress?
Here are 3 solutions to help you cope.
The NHS suggests that calming, deep breathing is one of the best ways to immediately reduce stress levels in the body.
Esther Sternberg, research director at the Arizona Centre for Integrative Medicine, suggests that when the sympathetic nervous system is activated, and the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, in the body rise, then deep-breathing is one of the best ways to combat this stress response (The CUT).
She states that “[d]eep-breathing turns on the vagus nerve enough that it acts as a brake on the stress response”, so whenever you begin to feel stressed, follow these simple steps to stop stress in its tracks!
- Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
- Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first.
- Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5 again, if you find this helpful.
- Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.
Whenever I start to feel under pressure at work, especially in a high-pressure environment like a bar where you may have twenty to thirty people shouting at you to get a drink, I will always take time to take a few deep breaths if I feel like the workload is getting on top of me.
I’ve always been a deeply proud person, so when I make a mistake or if the customer is upset with the service, I take it to heart as I want to consistently provide the best service I can, but first and foremost I must make sure that pressure to perform does not make me too stressed, otherwise I cannot perform at my highest potential. Therefore, sneaking off to the ice machine room to take a few deep breaths is always a good idea, for myself and for the people who work with me!
The ADAA say that “Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension […] and stabilize mood”, which in this case, cannot hurt!
They suggest that just five minutes of exercise a day can help towards relieving stress in the body, which can include a range of activities; from a stroll in the park on your lunch break, dropping by a gym class, or running for the bus!
Try and fit in at least fifteen minutes of exercise a day to reduce those stress levels.
I never used to exercise at high school, other than the odd Netball or Hockey game, but coming to university and discovering the wide range of ways that you can get active and have fun really inspired me to ‘get up and go’!
I regularly go to yoga classes with my housemates, and joined a gym, where I can go to dance classes and have a good laugh with like-minded people. This helps me release any pent-up tension that I may have accumulated throughout the day and helps me to go home feeling like I’ve earned a good night’s sleep!
Write a To-Do List
Even the simplest things can help to reduce stress, and this includes writing a to-do list.
When you feel organised, stress is more likely to just go straight over your head.
For example, if you write down all the tasks you have to do in one day, then it is easier to visualise the timing it will take to complete each task, and therefore relieve pressure and stress. Even writing down menial tasks like “hoovering” or “shower”, and then ticking them off the list will help to alleviate stress, as you feel like you are taking big steps to completing your daily tasks, making you feel more productive!
If you feel extra fancy, try downloading a to-do list app onto your smartphone so that you can get reminders of when tasks are due so that you’re never behind on your productivity!
I personally use “Minimalist”, it’s great for keeping track of all your little to-do’s!
I have three lists that I use daily: University, Home and Social.
These lists remind me and help me categorise what tasks are important every day.
For example, on the University list, there is a to-do called “EMAILS!”, because I know I have to go through and check all my emails at the end of the day. I will definitely have forgotten to reply to at least three! Having these little things written down provides me with a lot of comfort and alleviates significant stress, because I do not need to think about what I have on my to-do list constantly, it’s already written down!
Overall, it’s important to be aware of when you are stressed so that you can take steps to alleviating those feelings of pressure, because living with chronic stress not only effects your mental health, but your physical health too.
Be aware of your colleagues and the pressure that they may be under also, as talking and expressing your issues to another person experiencing the same pressure can be therapeutic (they may even give you more tips on how to deal with stress)!
If you are still looking for more helpful tips on becoming resilient to stress, then check out Alex Burbidge’s blog on our website “11 Proven Ways On How To Manage Stress At Work”, otherwise, leave a comment down below! – https://www.bigsmiles.co/news/11-proven-ways-on-how-to-manage-stress-at-work/