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How to Balance Work-Related Stress Like a Champ

A pair of red boxing gloves. Sports concept.

Feeling overwhelmed by work and aren’t quite sure how you will manage? Perhaps the requirements of your job have changed, and you are struggling to learn new ropes? Or perhaps you have heard rumors of a company downsizing, and you are no uncertain of your future at your present company?

If you find yourself worrying about work, you are not alone. Work-related stress has become an accepted part of the modern work landscape. In fact, a poll conducted by NPR reported that 1 in 4 Americans dealt with stress in the past month. Sometimes, however, you won’t even know that your body is dealing with what it considers a stressful situation.

One major incident in your day that causes your heart rate to spike could be considered a highly stressful situation. On the other hand, a demanding work situation that daily wears down at you could be equal to a one large stressful event. Prolonged stress exposure can be just as taxing to your nervous system as smaller daily occurrences. Finding work stress relief should be a priority for all stress sufferers. Here are some ways to balance out your nerves in the midst of a busy day.

  1. Go for a walk.

When things are blowing up all around you, it can be difficult to feel all right about clocking out for a walk. But it could be the best thing you do for your mental health and what helps you through the rest of the day. When you walk, or perform any aerobic exercise, your brain releases a feel-good chemical throughout your system. Scientists say regular participation in aerobic exercise decreases levels of tension. Exercise is also known to elevate and stabilize one’s mood and improve sleep and self-esteem.

  1. Meditate.

 A large reason why people feel stressed out is due to the weight they give certain thoughts. The mind gets put on a negative loop where one thought takes up all your bandwidth. Meditation is a way to take a step back from your thoughts and gain some distance and perspective. If the term meditation scares you, try the word mindfulness instead. The main idea is that you focus less on future worries and more on being present in the moment.

  1. Vent.

 But do it with someone outside of your work. It is almost always better to release negative emotions than to keep them bottled up inside. Sometimes the act of being heard and understood is enough to help you over your present frustrations. Be careful who you vent to, however. A friend, even one outside of work, may get tired of what might seem to be a steady stream of complaints. Always ask permission before you unburden your thoughts.

  1. Take a nap.

Stress sufferers can find themselves in the middle of a hard-to-end cycle where stress hinders their sleep. And then lack of sleep exacerbates their feelings of overwhelm and stress. And on the story goes. Ever considered a nap to help you handle both your stress and your sleep deprivation? One study suggests napping can help your heart rate, blood sugar, and blood pressure return to better levels. Even a 15 to 20 minute nap can be enough to recharge for the rest of the day.

  1. Don’t try to do it all. 

You are only capable of doing so much. If you know that something is simply too much for you, speak up. Or see what else can be minimized in order for you to carry your new load. Depending on your stress source, look at the rest of what you have in your life and determine what can be safely cut so that you won’t try to do everything. Saying no to one thing might be what you need to do in order to give yourself mental space to handle the more taxing stuff.