Do you often feel like you’re in a perennial state of anxiety, such that your body’s ready to give up on you? Do you often find yourself in the office just staring blankly at the computer screen for a long time, not knowing how to approach your work day’s many demands?
You’re definitely not alone. So many people nowadays complain that they’re stretched to the brink because of all their responsibilities, and further aggravating the situation is how the body naturally reacts to stress.
What Happens to Your Body When You’re Stressed
When you’re frazzled and anxious over something, your body pumps out stress hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. High cortisol levels cause blood to go directly to body parts that control the fight-or-flight response and prevent vital nutrients from going where they need to. This leads to back pains, headaches, difficulty in sleeping, weariness, and even weight gain.
Stressed at Work? What Can You Do?
The most effective solution to get rid of stress may be to get rid of stressors, but everybody knows that’s often not possible (like how do you get rid of a grumpy, demanding boss?). There are ways, however, of managing stress.
1. Understand how the body naturally functions. This alone can help reduce the stress on your brain and the rest of your faculties, as well as improve the way you deal with stress.
Do you know that the body functions optimally when it’s standing and moving? Therefore, if you wish to reduce the stress of your job by having your brain clear and completely focused on the task you need to do, stand as you work—especially when you need to type away on the computer. Use a standing desk. When you do so, you will notice that energy flows much better when you’re standing; this is because blood that carries oxygen and other crucial nutrients reach their intended destinations.
When you’re done with demanding brain activity, sit down—or better yet, recline completely, and your body will automatically go on a relaxed mode. Your brain will “slow down” and pretty soon you’ll be asleep. A short nap will do wonders in reducing stress hormone levels.
2. Stretch. This will aid circulation and keep you awake. All those tensed muscles on your neck, back and legs will be eased once you stretch. This will also get rid of nervous energy and have some soothing effect.
3. Eat better. When you’re healthier, you can manage stress better because there are more nutrients working to fuel your body for the work you need to do. If you’re under a lot of stress, wellness experts advise treating yourself to the following, stress- and pain-busting foods:
- Salmon – Research shows that this fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can help reverse stress symptoms by increasing serotonin levels. If salmon is too expensive, tuna is a good enough alternative. Prepare your own work meals and avoid junk food.
- Walnuts – Snacking on these during your break time instead of sweets and other junk food will do wonders for your blood pressure, which may already be high due to working too much. You can consume 1.5 ounces a day for good health.
- Oatmeal – This is good for the heart and helps the body produce serotonin that fights stress’s negative effects. Eating oatmeal will also prevent you from bingeing.
- Warm skim milk – This has a calming effect and can even reduce stress-related PMS symptoms, such as abdominal and lower back pain and soreness of joints.
4. Meditate – Take time out of your busy schedule to “retreat.” Invoke the power of the mind to take you away from your stressful situation at work. For at least 10 minutes, let your mind wander to a place that’s calm. Sit up straight, inhale and exhale—let this be your body’s rhythm for a while.
5. Sign up for massage therapy and let some strategic kneading undo all those tension knots that cause you pain on your day off or after a hectic workday. Deep tissue massage in particular, London therapists say, has a lot of health benefits for people whose bodies are constantly overworked, such as athletes.
- It can improve blood circulation.
- It promotes faster healing of damaged tissues.
- It encourages the release of endorphins (happy hormones) that can boost the immune system (so you can effectively ward off common ailments like cough, colds, flu, et cetera) and inhibit pain signals from reaching the brain.
- It can also pump your body with norepinephrine, a hormone that helps with anxiety management.
- It can improve your body’s flexibility and increase your body’s range of comfortable movements.
- And most especially, massage therapy forces people to just focus on the moment and their well-being. It’s their “me” time. If you get a massage, this relatively short moment will have you feeling completely reinvigorated, energised, and more relaxed after.
The stress you frequently experience when you work should not be disregarded. This chronic pressure can take its toll on your health. When you’re stressed, keep in mind these solutions, try one, or combine them all, so you can keep up your good performance at work.