Wow. I was not anticipating Managing Stress in the Workplace (or wherever) to go as well as it did. I had an overwhelming response from people! The likes, comments, emails and even friends texting me to say it was a helpful post was lovely and overwhelming. Well, the good news is I’m here with Part 2! I try a lot of stress reduction techniques, and while I’m still admittedly a stress-head, I’ve found that practicing mindfulness and managing my stress had made me more pleasant to be around both at work and home.
While the previous post was more centered around work, this one will be a little more generalised. Obviously reducing stress in the workplace is important, but so is living a less stressful life in general. Last time I left off with a flippant little “Hug it out”. But for this blog, that is going to be the starting point.
Managing Stress Part 2!
Physical contact is really important for humans. While we may not always be in the mood to touch people (or be touched by people) we as a species are pack animals by nature, and we need physical affection. It creates a wonderful chemical reaction in our brain that send all those happy good vibe feelings though our bodies and relieves stress. Physical contact can be as simple as a hand shake, or as intimate as a kiss or as saucy as sex. While I don’t recommend kissing your coworkers (or sleeping with them, for that matter), shaking their hand hello, or a pat on the back/shoulder as you walk by is usually appropriate in the workplace. These small acts of physical contact can be that small difference between total meltdown and managing to survive until you get home.
Once you are home however, let your freak flag fly. I’m lucky enough that I have beautiful housemates to come home to who will always give me affection or space as I need it. But if they’re on holiday or simply not home, I notice their absence and I have to find other ways to get my physical contact when I need it. Sometimes it’s cuddling on the couch with my friends, phoning a sexy-time friend, or going to an animal shelter to cuddle every animal I possibly can. It all works for me. Find what works for you and is safe, sane, and consensual with others.
Dear lord I love a good nap. There are some days where I’d willingly pay my boss $20 to let me hide in the first aid room and take a 20 minute power nap if he’d let me. Sleep is so important to your day-to-day well-being and your ability to manage and reduce stress, both in the work place and out. While there is no magic number for the ideal hours of sleep, most professionals range it between 7 and 9 hours a night. Getting a solid, good nights sleep has been proven to improve your mood, memory, awareness, and reduce stress. What’s not to love about sleep?
I’ve mentioned a few times that I like to go to the gym. For me, power lifting is amazing and I hate cardio, but no matter what kind of exercise I do, I always feel better afterwards. Feel free to head over to Google Scholar and do a little research on how well exercise affects stress. The research says it’s pretty good, and while I don’t overly believe in testimonials as valid evidence, I’ll give my testimonial. I definitely find my time at the gym is therapeutic. I feel more calm, I feel stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally, and it gives me a tension release unlike anything else (yes, I mean unlike anything else). For me, when I feel better about myself, it reduces stress in areas of my life that don’t even register as stress, but definitely have a negative impact on my life; Like my self esteem. Physical activity can have a really positive domino effect on your life.
Have a break (have a Kit-Kat)
Time-Out is incredibly important. Be(Twix)t the chaos of day-to-day life, work, finances, family and the drama on tv, it’s important to chill. Life is no Picnic and be (Coconut) Rough. Despite all the chocolate/candy based puns, taking time out for yourself is an incredible way to de-stress or at least keep the levels of stress manageable. Some really good ways of doing this include:
Find something you love doing but haven’t made time to do it in a while. Schedule it in to your calendar, and keep that date with yourself. Having down time with just you and the activity of your choice can be incredibly restorative. Personally, I like to read with a glass of wine in a bubble bath. Each to their own.
It’s so weird to think about, but most people don’t breathe properly. In our day-to-day lives we breathe shallow, short breaths that don’t allow our lower lungs to receive oxygen, and a lot of people have no idea what a diaphragm is or that they even have one. Shallow breathing (what most people deem “normal breathing”) can be a cause of stress and anxiety. By taking time to take a deep breath and focus on the breath, we can relieve tension and stress. It also gives you a mad head rush the first few deep breaths you take, so there’s that going for it too. Go ahead. Take a few deep breaths right now. You’ll feel better, I promise.
Well, once again, that’s all from me for now! Hopefully you’ve had a better time managing your stress in the work place and you’ll feel empowered to go use the tools around you and within you to make your day less stressful. If you’ve found either of these stress management blogs useful, spread the love and send the links to a friend, share them on Twitter, Facebook or Myspace, or however you share your news. My blog is about a little bit of everything and who knows, it may get people thinking about things in their day-to-day life, and it might make a difference.
Until next time, stay silly, and remember: You always have time to breathe. xx