We all know that physical health is incredibly important to how we perform at work and how we feel in ourselves, but mental health matters too. Our busy schedules often leave no time for psychological self-care and, in the long term, this can cause serious problems.
A recent Freeletics study has shown that, on average, people rate four working days a month as “highly stressful”. This means they are stressed around 20% of the time they’re at work.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. By taking small but effective actions, you can reduce stress levels in the workplace and improve both your mental and physical wellbeing.
Why should you dedicate time to your mental health at work?
We’ve all been there: you’re stressed because you can’t solve a problem, but you can’t think of a solution because you’re stressed. Stress stifles creativity as your brain is in “fight or flight mode”, making it more difficult to concentrate or make rational decisions.
Between running to meetings and pushing to meet deadlines, it’s important to check in with yourself and how your body is feeling at that moment. Self-awareness is the key to mental and physical wellbeing. Stress and negative feelings that are allowed to build up unresolved can lead to burnouts, depression and even long-term physical problems.
And stress doesn’t just affect us mentally but physically too. When we’re stressed, we’re more likely to eat poorly and to turn to quick fixes. Fueling ourselves the wrong way can increase stress levels and negative emotions as our body’s chemicals become unbalanced.
How can you relieve stress at work?
Many companies offer discounted yoga sessions to employees. Whether at lunch time or at the end of a long day, a 30-minute yoga session can be an effective way to reset and de-stress, putting the focus back on the body and the self.
Don’t have the space or resources for yoga in the office? No stress. There are many simple yoga and mindfulness exercises you can do right at your desk and that require just a few minutes of your day.
Team runs or team training
95% of people agree that exercising after a difficult day helps to relieve stress. Exercise can help to relieve stress and frustration as it leads to increased levels of dopamine, serotonin and endorphins in the body, all of which improve mood. And it doesn’t have to be an intense workout: just a light jog outside can be enough to alleviate the stresses of the day.
Let’s set the record straight: naps aren’t unproductive. Studies prove that taking a short 15-minute power nap can actually increase productivity as it effectively allows the mind to reset and re-centre itself, leading to increased focus and alertness. Having a quiet space in the office where employees can take a quick snooze break is a great way to promote a healthier attitude to self-care.
Tension often manifests itself physically. This could be in the form of neck pain, tight shoulders or back discomfort. When we spend the majority of our day sitting down, our muscles and joints are at risk of becoming tight and underused. Taking time to go through a few stretches at various points in the day that target the most important areas can make all the difference when it comes to stress release.
We’ve all been there: work can be stressful AF and sometimes this just can’t be avoided. But often, there are small measures we can take to reduce the negative effects of stress on our body and mind. And those listed above are just the start. Something as simple as going for a walk, taking time out to make food or changing the music you’re listening to can all make a big difference.