The Betterment Project

Creative Ways To Reduce Stress At Work: A Guide

Stress at work can draw up all sorts of images, thoughts, and feelings. For some people, stress at work comes from tense relationships with coworkers or customers. For others, stress at work is associated with deadlines, quotas, and managing responsibilities. 

Some jobs, even in the best-case scenario, are by their nature full of stressful situations. Whatever job you have, you can probably relate to the feeling of stress at work.

For happy employees, a solid work-life balance is key. Finding a balance can be challenging if your cortisol levels are always through the roof from job stress. While many companies emphasize workplace wellness and employee health, sometimes it's difficult to take a step back from a fast-paced work environment.
 

By utilizing resources (counseling and wellness programs) and stress management tactics, factors like employee engagement and employee productivity can increase as stress levels decrease. 

Let's learn more about stress and how you can decrease stress for the long term in your office space.


What Is Stress? 

Stress is a natural part of life. Our bodies respond to situations that are intense, dangerous, or unexpected to prepare us to react. This response is called fight-or-flight. The fight-or-flight response is easiest to understand when you think about a dangerous situation. The body responds to the danger by being ready to fight the threat or flee from it. 

When you picture your reaction to a sudden and dangerous incident while driving, it’s easy to imagine the body’s response to the threat of an accident. You can make snap decisions to avoid a collision. 

Afterward, you may notice that your chest is pounding, and you’re slightly breathless. As the reality of the threat subsides, you start to relax through your body and may feel more tired than you were before you encountered the threat of danger.

All of what you experience is your stress response. While it’s easy to understand in an example that involves danger, our bodies prepare themselves in the same way even when the stress in the situation is less obvious. One place most of us encounter situations that warrant our stress response is work.


What Happens To Us When We Have Stress At Work? 

Stress is a fact of life. Stress at work is too. Even if you love your job, you can still encounter stress at work. It’s important to know how to recognize the effects of stress on our bodies. Then, we can learn to implement strategies to reduce stress at the appropriate times.

Here are some symptoms that you may be stressed at work without realizing it’s stress:


  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches and pains; muscle tension
  • Digestive issues (upset stomach)
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lowered resistance to colds and infections
  • Nervousness
  • High blood pressure
  • Incessant worrying
  • Trouble focusing
  • Forgetfulness
  • Appetite changes
  • Procrastination

Because stress is a normal, natural part of life, occasional stress is okay and not harmful. However, when stress is constant or ongoing, it can become chronic stress. Chronic stress can harm your physical and psychological well-being. Learning to reduce and manage stress is an important part of mitigating the effects of stress on your health.


What Causes Stress At Work?

What causes you stress at work may be specific to your situation, but some common factors can lead to stress at work. Here are a few that could be contributing to your stress at work:


  • Wages that don’t meet your financial needs
  • Excessively heavy workloads
  • Limited advancement opportunities
  • Work that doesn’t challenge, excite or engage you
  • Uncertainty of performance expectations
  • Strained relations with coworkers
  • Feeling unempowered to make decisions

Typically, work is part of providing for ourselves or those we care about, and we rely on our wages for financial stability. Avoiding stress at work is not always possible, and changing jobs can be its own source of stress and not always feasible. Instead, it’s important to learn how to reduce or manage your stress at work.


How Can You Reduce Stress At Work? 

Identifying your stressors can help you understand what might be causing you stress at work, but regardless of what’s causing you stress, here are a few creative ways for you to reduce stress at work. 


1 - Journal

To help identify what is stressing you at work, journal your experiences at work to help you recognize what creates the most stress for you. Reflect on how you responded to those situations. Understanding your thoughts and feelings in retrospect can help give you perspective on handling situations differently in the future.


2 - Emphasize Wellness

One reality that we all must accept is that we don’t have control over every situation. However, we should control what we can, and one way to reduce stress at work is to emphasize wellness in our workplace environment. Here are a few stress relief activities for improving your workspace that may help relieve workplace stress:

 

  • A plant - adding greenery can help improve your air quality and create a sense of calm.
  • A fun water bottle - staying hydrated to prepare your mind to solve problems and promote creative thinking.
  • Aromatherapy - scents from essential oils can directly impact your state of mind. 
  • Short walks - a little exercise and fresh air when you have a break in your schedule can help freshen your perspectives. Exposing yourself to natural light or sunshine will help boost your mood and melt excess stress.
  • Meditation or Yoga - find a quiet space and unwind. Take deep breaths and light a candle to help set the mood for your meditation or yoga session.
  • Tidy your space - a clean space is good for a clear mind.  

Little measures to improve how you feel can help manage your personal space and wellness. You might not eliminate the stress that comes your way, but you can feel more empowered by controlling your factors. 

When it comes to soothing your tension, hormones, and emotions, you have to find what works for you and your situation. However, these small steps have all shown promise to help create a more peaceful environment. 


3 - Calming Supplements

When external factors influence your stress levels, you may not always be able to calm your mind. With constant stress like deadlines or high volume work, it may be difficult to destress and bring peace to your mind. You might just find comfort and support to help in your efforts with a calming supplement like Complete Calm Destress Gummies.



These treat-like gummies can be taken once each day, and they can have an almost immediate calming effect without making you feel drowsy. 

With proven ingredients like Persian saffron extract, Panax ginseng, Lion’s Mane extract, and their daytime terpene blend, you can help elevate your mood, soothe your tensions, and help focus your mind on the work ahead. 

Complete Calm Destress Gummies need only to be taken once each day, and they work best when taken regularly. You can easily incorporate them into part of your daily routine of getting ready or as part of your mid-shift break time. 


4 - After Hours 

Even if your work is a major source of stress in your life, the chances are that you only work for a portion of the day. When you’re not at work, you certainly have other responsibilities and maybe even other stressors that need your attention. However, it’s important to take time to focus on your own needs during those hours you have off work.

In a perfect world, you’d always have time to do everything you need to do after work, time to relax and unwind, and time to rest and recover. Sometimes, the combination we get is less than perfect, and when we feel stressed, rushed, busy, or tired, it’s easy to let the basics fall away. 

We negotiate that we need a mental break, and we binge a series instead of sleeping. Or, we negotiate with ourselves that we didn’t have time to cook, so we eat takeout that we wouldn’t consider proper fuel on a normal day. We even forgo any physical exercise because we just don’t have time to go to the gym. 


All of these decisions, compromises, and time negotiations we make with ourselves can add up and make us feel even less well and at peace with ourselves. It’s vital to our physical and mental health that we find ways to take care of ourselves the right way in the time we have off from work. 

There are five main areas that can make a big difference in our well-being. Here’s what you can do to help you:

 

  • Get enough sleep - aim for 8 hours, even if every day it isn’t possible.
  • Eat healthy - a little takeout is fine. Just try to keep the healthy foods in rotation.
  • Exercise regularly - 15 to 20 minutes of any physical activity, even cleaning, is better than none at all.
  • Take breaks throughout the workday- taking small breaks will help relieve work stress.
  • Have fun - whatever that looks like for you. Video games, reading, shopping, a hobby, a movie with friends. Let yourself have a break for fun more often.

Remember that life is about balance, and work is just part of your life. Don’t let it rule over your mental health. You have to live the life you’re working for along the way.


Summary

Stress at work is so common that it’s almost a given factor of being employed. However, unchecked stress can be detrimental to your overall health and well-being. That’s why learning creative ways like journaling, focusing on your personal wellness, implementing a daily calming supplement, and focusing on the balance after hours to manage or reduce your stress can be vital to minimizing the effects of stress. 

 

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Sources:

Stress | mentalhealth.org 

Stress won't go away? Maybe you are suffering from chronic stress | apa.org 

Green Space is Good for Mental Health | earthobservatory.nasa.gov 

Meet our Experts

This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.

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