Let’s talk about stress real quick. We all know that stress isn’t good for you. But, did you know that unmanaged stress can lead to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and can wreak havoc on your mental health. Let’s discuss how to leave stress at work.
There are three main types of stress; acute, episodic, and chronic. All three affect us emotionally, physically, and mentally.
This is the most common stress that we deal with on the daily and is usually short lived. Examples of acute stress are: getting a call from an angry customer, a promotion at work, or running late to your next appointment. Acute stress can evoke positive or negative feelings.
Episodic stress is when your acute stress is becomes overwhelming and is no longer a short term experience. When you consistently bite off more than you can chew with your schedule, you might be in a constant state of episodic stress. You probably worry all the time about how you need to be in two places at once. The kids have a basketball game, but you are also pulled to attend a fundraiser meeting. This type of stress can wear on you because it’s more constant and gives you a feeling of anxiety. Overtime, this type of stress can cause headaches, migraines, chest pain, and even heart disease.
Chronic stress is when you feel like you are stuck in a cloud of stress all the time and it won’t let up. You may feel chronic stress if you have marriage troubles, deal with money problems, or are trapped in a job that you despise. This is the worst kind of stress and can destroy your health by causing a heart attack or stroke. People get used to living in chronic stress and may not even realize how it affects their physical and mental health until it’s too late.
The American Institute of Stress found that the number one cause of stress is work. We all know what it feels like to leave work with an exploding inbox, a half finished project that’s past due, or just feeling that you can’t possibly catch up. We spend a huge amount of time at our jobs. If it’s stressful, it’s important to find ways to deal with that stress so that it doesn’t become chronic.
The first step in relieving stress from work is to learn to not bring it home with you. When you bring stress home, it can affect your health and your relationships you have with family and friends outside the office. Here are a few ideas that may help you detach from your stressful day and feel more relaxed outside of the cubicle.
People get used to living in chronic stress and may not even realize how it affects their physical and mental health until it’s too late.
Are you using your time at work to be as efficient as possible? Make sure you are planning and prioritizing so that you can make the most of your time. There are many apps and platforms that can help you organize your day. One of my favorites is Trello. You can create checklists, set due dates, and collaborate with coworkers on the platform. Whether you are stressed or not, managing your time can help you get more accomplished.
Find a way to detach
First you need to figure out what it takes to detach from your work. For some, this is simply just logging off their computer. For others, they need to create a ritual that they do at the end of each work day to signal that it’s time to leave work until the next day. For me, it’s creating a quick handwritten list of what I need to tackle the next day. It’s my way of signing off for the day so I can mentally leave the office.
Yes, you logged off your computer when you left the office. Now, stay logged off. Having our inbox right at our fingertips makes it extremely tempting to quickly see if so and so responded to your email. Resist the urge to scroll through your inbox. Trust me, once you put this into practice, it will get easier and you’ll feel so much better.
Write it down
I get it. Your creative brain doesn’t have work hours. If an idea pops into your head while you’re eating dinner, jot it down. If you are trying to get to sleep, but you just happened to come up with the perfect solution to a problem at work, jot it down. Yes, I’m telling you to unplug from work, but I know how annoying it is when you come up with a brilliant thought and you are 100% sure you will remember it the next day, but you don’t (and now you’re feeling stressed because you can’t remember.)
Practice the art of saying no
The majority of people want to help and please others. When we say yes to things we don’t have time for, we are only shorting ourselves. Of course you should help others if they need it, but understand your limits. And, on the other side of this, remember it’s okay to ask for help. Saying no and reaching out when you need assistance will help you reduce your episodic stress.
Let yourself recharge
Remember when I said that the number one cause of stress is job pressure? Well, another cause of stress is sleep deprivation. You need sleep to be able to function at work and at home, so do yourself a favor and get your rest. Every evening I crawl into bed and listen to a five minute sleep mediation. They usually involve slowing the breath, which in return quiets the mind. This is my way of detaching from the day so that I can reboot for tomorrow. I enjoy the Peloton and Headspace meditation programs.
It’s not easy to leave work and completely disconnect. There are many methods to managing stress, it’s just important to find what works for you. Not only will your body thank you, but your family and friends will appreciate it as well.
About the writer
Marketing Content and Social Media
Jeanna has a passion for letting her creativity shine. At Quotacy she manages social media, is a co-host of Quotacy's Q&A Friday, and enjoys writing here and there. When she's not at the office, you can find her hanging with her husband and rescue animals, brunching with girlfriends, or loving up on her nieces and nephews. Connect with her on LinkedIn.