Managing Stress

The modern working professional is busy playing a balancing act

Are you stressed at work but haven’t realised it yet?

Nowadays, there is overwhelming pressure on working professionals to perform at work. Better yet, there are often cases where one feels a burdening weight to perform tasks that are outside their job description and comfort zones. “If I don’t do it, they’ll find someone else…” – How many of you have thought this? It’s easy to see why one may feel anxious and overwhelmed. And then you go home and you manage family and perhaps sporting commitments too. You’ve got your plate full and unless you make space for taking stock, you’ll burn your fuse out, jeapardising your mental and physical health. In this article, we will set out 5 tips for managing stress at work, allowing you to unwind and ensuring that your mental and physical health have room to strive.

1. Exercise

You’ve all heard it before but this is possibly the most important tip on the list. Exercising or playing sport has so many benefits for the body and the mind. It betters your mood, relaxes your mind and has obvious health and physical benefits. Exercise regularly each week and you’ll begin to see the benefits. Depending on your age and ability, how often you do this will vary. There is common agreement among PT trainers and doctors that exercising 3 to five times for 30 minutes is a good start.

Exercise has so many benefits on the body and the mind

2. Sleep

Sleep is tight with exercise for top spot on this list. It cannot be underestimated. Getting your 7 to 8 hours every night works wonders for the busy working professional. Avoiding smart phone use while in bed only enhances your recuperation. I’ve had a Fit Bit now for about two years and the silent, vibrating alarm on my wrist has allowed me to sleep without the distraction of my phone in the room. It’s excellent and it tracks my sleeping patterns also. Failing this, a traditional alarm clock easily serves this purpose also. Just remember: LEAVE THE SMARTPHONE IN ANOTHER ROOM! You’ll sleep much better.

3. Eat Healthy (Well, as well as you can)

It is well documented in recent times that your meals should have plenty of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean protein for energy (and recovery if you play sport). Science doesn’t lie! Don’t go crazy dropping things that you’ve read are bad for you, the odd takeaway won’t cause instant death. With that being said, bring yourself to implement change, in small manageable steps. Break everything down. This way, you will see the progress. I wonder how Leo Varadkar is getting on with cutting back on his red meat consumption…

Drinking enough water is also really important. I guarantee you that you could and should be drinking more than you do. It is recommended that we drink around 2l of water each day. How many of us can say that we do this consistently? If you exercise, you’ll need more than this. I noticed that when I lost my water bottle a few weeks ago, I drank considerably less water and I experienced fluctuations in energy levels and I felt overworked. I wasn’t overworked, but it seemed like I was. Don’t underestimate the importance and value of hydration.

4. Set Realisitic Goals

The modern life is hectic, its busy, its energetic, for sure, but it can consume you. Every so often, evaluate what you are doing. Ask yourself: “Do I need to do this?” Use this logic to break down all your big jobs at work into smaller more manageable tasks. James McDowell, a personal trainer in Leitrim, talks about this at length, albeit in a weight loss context, in his blog on setting goals for 2019.

Believe it or not, tomorrow is another day. Most tasks in the average office can wait until the following morning. Write the reminder down on a note slip and tackle it first thing in the morning. Job done!!

5. Take a Break(s)

Weekends and evenings are brilliant for this. Hit the cinema, listen to music, walk the dog, catch up with friends – the list goes on! But take your down time and relish it. Recharge those batteries and come back to the office on Monday mornings with a pep in your step. Lately, travel has been my escape. I spent this New Years Eve in California and I came back to work in such relaxed form. I also felt focused but much less splintered. My note taking has been better, I sleep better and my work is sharper than usual.

In addition to this, when you’re at work, take regular breaks. This is hugely important in the 5 tips for managing stress at work list. Eat lunch outside or in another room, away from your desk. Get some steps in every hour and always get some sunlight and fresh air during your day.

Hobbies with friends help break up the professional life

Hobbies will also overlap with your break periods. Sport (Gaelic football in my case) is a healthy and worthwhile distraction outside the office. You release endorphins, see friends and for want of a better phrase, blow off some steam.

And there you have it, 5 Tips for Managing Stress at Work! Thanks for reading folks and please get in touch if you have any questions about anything above. If you’re feeling stressed, or overwhelmed, please also get in touch. We’d love to help in any way that we can.

Chris and Cathal

Read other articles in the series ‘Thoughts on Therapy’

This blog article (5 Tips for Mangaing Stress at Work) was written by Barry Gilmartin – Digital Content Developer with Atlantic Language Galway and Dublin.