Is your job stressing you out? Don’t worry, you’re in good company. Three-quarters of Americans consider their jobs stressful, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association.
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There are simple ways to de-stress and make your work life a little easier to handle. Cleveland Clinic behavioral health expert Jane Ehrman, MEd, has some suggestions.
Ms. Ehrman says breathing deeply and often at stressful moments will supply much-needed oxygen to your brain. “When we’re stressed we tend to breathe shallow — and when we’re emotional we even hold our breath,” says Ms. Ehrman. “Our body uses a lot more oxygen when we’re stressed. If you’re in an oxygen deficit it can create or trigger anxiety.”
Get up and move during the day, suggests Ms. Ehrman. Take a brisk 10-minute walk. Or even take your meetings on the road. “Research shows that walking meetings, when people go outside and walk around in nature, are actually more productive. You get more creative in problem solving; you’re getting greater oxygenation to the brain and body.”
Liven up your workspace
Your physical workspace may have more to do with your stress level than you realize. Plants and soft colors like yellow and blue are more calming and comforting, says Ms. Ehrman. If you don’t already, place non job-related objects and pictures that make you happy around your workspace. If there’s nothing but work material around you, your stress may only be magnified.
Focus — then recognize your accomplishments
“When you’re overwhelmed with work projects, keep them all out of view except for the project you’re working on right now,” suggests Ms. Ehrman. “You won’t be looking up and seeing all that still has to be done.” Conversely, put your completed projects within sight so you can take a few minutes to appreciate a sense of what you’ve accomplished.