10 Healthy Ways To Handle Stress At Work
Are you wondering how to handle stress at work? Whether you have nerves before a job interview or you find yourself in a stressful role, tension in your work environment can begin to affect other parts of your life. When you’re unable to find effective outlets for managing stress, you start to take your work home, where it affects your sleep and eating habits.
In this short guide, we’ll cover 10 effective strategies for stress management in the workplace. In time, you’ll tackle workplace challenges with more energy and fewer negative thoughts.
1. Essential Oil Support
First things first: when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, you need immediate relief before you can begin to take further action.
Essential oil aromatherapy is a time-honored and scientifically-tested way to calm your nerves and start feeling more positive. A 2011 review of sixteen other studies found that essential oils exhibited soothing effects in the majority of trials, with very few adverse effects.
Some of our favorite essential oils for stress include:
Stress Relief Synergy Blend – Sweet Orange, Bergamont, Patchouli, Grapefruit and Ylang Ylang combine to form a blend that helps you relax without making you feel sleepy. Uplifting notes of citrus tangle with dreamy florals to create an aroma as an antidote for clouded thinking.
Worry Less Synergy Blend – The star player in this synergy blend is Lavender, an essential oil that has been used across cultures and time periods for the purpose of soothing nerves. As one of the best-studied aromatherapy aids, Lavender helps many people unwind and relax. Paired with Clary Sage, Spearmint and other fresh oils, this blend helps you find balance in a situation when you most need it.
Bitter Orange – Citrus can help you to focus on the positive. Bright and zesty, Bitter Orange essential oil is a favorite pick for clearing your mind from worry and self-doubt.
2. Take A Deep Breath
Once you’ve found a moment of relief, deep breathing can help you prolong it.
Breathwork is a well-studied way to focus on mindfulness and it even imparts long-term health benefits. While many associate breathwork with Yoga and Tai Chi, it’s easy to practice deep belly breathing at your desk. Simply:
Inhale deeply, feeling your stomach rise (place a hand on your stomach if you feel comfortable).
Exhale fully, feeling your belly fall.
After a few repetitions, add a breath count, inhaling for five seconds and exhaling for five seconds.
Concentrate on your breath for one minute or longer.
3. Actually Take Your Lunch Break
When work gets hectic, it’s tempting to eat lunch in front of your computer screen, continuing to type between bites. If you’re wondering how to reduce work related stress, remember that employers are required to give you a break for several good reasons!
Working through lunch can actually increase your stress levels:
Increased screen time is associated with higher risks for anxiety
More time seated (rather than standing or moving) can also increase your stress levels
Muscle tension from a sedentary position can reinforce your bad mood or negative feelings
As difficult as it can be to step away from your screen, rest assured that even a short break will leave you feeling more energized and focused when you return to work and face the job demands.
For even better results, eat a lunch filled with nutritious, energy boosting foods. Consider whole grains, vegetables, leafy greens and protein. And don’t forget to hydrate!
4. Drink Water
What do you drink while you’re at work?
If the answer is nothing, dehydration could be contributing to your excessive stress.
If the answer is coffee, caffeine could be raising your cortisol levels and your body’s stress response.
If you’re wondering how to be stress free, water might be the solution.
Hydration is key to maintaining physical homeostasis, which can help to support your mood. While coffee, tea and sugary energy drinks help many of us wake up in the morning and maintain energy throughout the day, they can have a negative impact on the body over time.
Drinking plain, old water is associated with reduced stress. If you spend eight hours at work, at least four of your eight glasses a day should be consumed on the job!
5. When In Doubt, Move About
You already know that regular exercise is associated with better overall physical and mental health. However, many of us stay sedentary throughout our entire workday.
Consider ways to incorporate movement into your job:
Take a short walk during your lunch break
Attend an on-site gym or exercise class
Stretch your neck and shoulders while sitting at your desk
Switch between a standing and seated desk
Any of the above actions can help you to change your position, and with it, your perspective. This may help stress to melt away.
If weather and working conditions don’t allow for exercise during your lunch break, you might also consider a short meditation.
Set the mood with one of the listed stress-busting essential oils.
To start, spend just 3-5 minutes with your eyes closed, observing your breath.
Notice any anxious thoughts that come up and label them: “That’s my stress.”
If you prefer, try a guided meditation on YouTube or an app.
Over time, you may begin to enjoy and look forward to this part of your routine and prolong your meditation.
7. Get Organized
When we’re overwhelmed, it’s easy to forget that we can only accomplish one task at a time!
Once you’ve used the above strategies to find a little more clarity and focus, work on making a to-do list and clear schedule so that you can begin crossing off tasks. This may help you to feel more in control and less frantic.
Of course, in some cases, the causes for our stress aren’t exactly on our to-do list. Instead, they have to do with interpersonal relationships and difficult workplace dynamics. When this is the case, try to let go of the conflict, focusing on what you can control—your job performance.
8. Reflect At The End Of The Day
As you wrap up your workday, reflect on how it went.
Reflecting can allow you to vent, put your feelings into words and come up with a plan for the next day. As soon as you’re done, close the cover on your workday and focus on unwinding at home and ridding your space of any unnecessary stress.
9. Develop Healthy Sleep Habits
At Edens Garden, we know that unwinding at home is sometimes easier said than done. If you find yourself wrapped up in job stress, it can be difficult to fall asleep at night and wake up feeling completely rested in the morning. This cycle perpetuates itself, lowering your sleep quality and increasing levels of inflammatory stress hormones including cortisol.
In cases like these, getting enough sleep can help you cope with workplace stress.
Try out the following tips:
Diffuse one of our essential oil blends for sleep at night (or throughout the evening) before you go to bed.
Clean your room before bed, folding all laundry and clearing clutter.
Turn off screens an hour before bedtime.
Go to sleep at the same time every evening (even on weekends).
Set your alarm clock for the same time every morning.
Avoid napping during the day.
With consistent effort, you’ll start to wake up feeling more refreshed, centered and ready for whatever the workday brings.
10. Invest In Positive Relationships
When work is stressful, focus on the things that are going well in your life. Friendships and other relationships actually help to lower stress levels.
If you feel guilty about burdening your friends and family members with your problems, remember, they want to help. If you have a tough day at your job, consider:
Calling someone to catch up
Explicitly asking for support
Making weekend plans to spend quality time with someone
Treating yourself to a self care day to gather your thoughts and decompress
Whether you want to get your mind off work or solicit a helpful perspective, your loved ones are a great resource for support and relaxation.
Positive relationships also include your relationship with yourself. At Edens Garden we take pride in formulating synergy blends to help you meet your wellness goals. Whether you’re combating workplace stress, looking for better sleep, or trying to promote an even skin tone, we have a blend that suits your needs.
Create your own essential oil set to help combat stress today!
Lee, Yuk-Lan et al. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 17.2 (2011):101-108. http://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2009.0277
Khouja, Jasmine N et al. “Is screen time associated with anxiety or depression in young people? Results from a UK birth cohort.” BMC public health 19.1 (2019). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6337855/
Haghighatdoost, Fahimeh et al. “Drinking plain water is associated with decreased risk of depression and anxiety in adults: Results from a large cross-sectional study.” World journal of psychiatry 8.3 (2018): 88-96. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6147771/
Powers Lott, Abigail. “Why Friends Keep Us Sane.” Anxiety.org. https://www.anxiety.org/friendship-can-improve-mental-health