Is it possible to maintain a clear head all day, every day? Is it possible not to get ‘hot under the collar’ with a steady stream of workplace demands, change, noise and interruption? Here’s some practical tips to help you de-stress and stay in control of stress, before it becomes overwhelming, resulting in physical and mental illness. Act Rather Than React Stress is a complex concept. It definitely has different effects on people, and whilst in the right amounts can be positive & help to achieve goals, it can have a debilitating physical and mental health effect on people if it is prolonged and unresolved. It is very important in your role, to you identify the aspects of a situation that you can control and aspects that you can’t. Concentrate and focus on those aspects that you can control and let go of the rest. Breathe If you are feeling overwhelmed or feel the tension rising, take a few minutes to breathe – take a quick walk, sit at your desk, close your eyes and inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale in equal counts through the nose, or grab a cuppa – a few minutes is all it takes to defuse the feeling. Eliminate Interruptions Most of us are bombarded during the working day – emails, phone calls, meetings, deadlines; all very real and logical workplace distractions. While you may not have control over the interrupters, you can control your response. Here’s some responsive tips: ways: accept the interruption, cut it off, or diagnosis its importance and make a plan. Many interruptions are recurring and can be anticipated. You may have to ‘template’ certain responses, and train those around you by only answering email during certain windows, setting up office hours to talk in person or closing the door when you need to focus. Schedule Your Day For Energy And Focus Most of us go through the working day with a ‘push strategy’ – thinking that if we work the 8 – 10 hours, we’ll achieve more. Sometimes the reality is that productivity goes down, stress levels go up and you have very little energy left over for your personal life – creating a stress cycle. Consider scheduling regular breaks throughout the day to walk, stretch at your desk or do a breathing exercise. Like school children, it has been demonstrated that full-on concentration for 90 minutes, followed by a brief period of recovery can clear the build-up of stress and rejuvenate ourselves. Eat Right, Rest & Sleep The old adage, ‘you’ll only get out what you put in’, so be mindful of what you are putting in your mouth. We are not going to get it right 100% of the time, but stop, think and balance naughty with good nutrition. The same goes for sleep – if you’re not sleeping well, you’re not getting the rejuvenating effects. If you find it difficult getting to sleep or you wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep, here’s a breathing tip – cover your right nostril and breathe through your left for three to five minutes. If this is a relentless cycle, it may need further investigation, and perhaps some medicinal intervention, so monitor and react appropriate to ensure you remain in control. Change Your Story Your perspective of stressful office events is typically a subjective interpretation of the facts, sometimes seen through the filter of your own self-doubt. Step back, try and take a more objective view, you’ll be more effective and less likely to take things personally. Remove yourself from the situation and talk the situation through within someone who is independent from the work environment and don’t use the session to inflame the situation, it will only stress you more! Identify Self-Imposed Stress Learn to stop self-imposing stress by building your own self-confidence rather than seeking other’s approval. If you’re too caught up in someone’s perception of you (which you can’t control), you become stressed by the minutia or participate in avoidance behaviours. Shift the focus from others’ perception of your work to the actual work itself. Prioritise Priorities Competing deadlines and fast-changing priorities are just the way it is, it’s up to you to define the priorities and manage your work accordingly. Always base these priorities by cross-referencing your role in the organisation against the company’s strategy and priorities, and write yourself an action list for the next day before you go home at night, to help stay focussed, productive and less stressed. Be Your Own Best Critic Tens of thousands of thoughts stream through your mind every day, and internal negativity is just as likely to stress you out as an external event. Instead of being harsh and critical of yourself try pumping yourself up. Encouraging thoughts will help motivate you to achieve and ultimately train you to inspire others. Add positive affirmations to your work environment, as little reminders of what’s important. To download our workplace stress ebook click here
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