Finding Peace in a Hectic Work Environment
Beep beep beep beep
Its 7 am. You roll out of bed and struggle to get ready and out the door in time to arrive at work before 9. Your arrival at work certainly doesn’t mean a quiet cup of coffee though; rather you have an inbox full of emails to respond to, reports to look over, drafts of project ideas to be sent off, and surprise, an impromptu team meeting. By the time you look at the clock it is already 2:30 – did you eat lunch today? Probably not, but there’s no time now since you need the rest of the afternoon to work on a presentation for tomorrow morning.
If this is reminiscent of your daily work schedule, you may find yourself exhausted and irritable by the end of the day. Work may leak into your private time with friends and family and, although they love to hear your successes, constant work chatter wears them down as well. Finally, you may notice that your mental health is taking a hit.
If this is your daily work schedule, it may be time to find peace in a hectic work environment.
Dealing with Workplace Stress
High-stress environments are one of the greatest daily challenges to our health in the workplace. Stress can have a number of profound negative impacts on the body such as increased muscle tension that causes aches and pains, headaches, high blood pressure, and changes in how the digestive system processes food. Chronic, or long-term, stress is one of a number of causes of major depression, cardiovascular diseases, and other serious health issues.
Fortunately, it is possible to find ways to help address stress in the workplace. Often, they are the same stress management suggestions offered to college students balancing busy schedules. Some of these stress management options can even be incorporated throughout your busy workday.
Mental Health at Your Desk
Perhaps the easiest form of stress-management to incorporate during the workday is meditation. There are a number of different meditation-based exercises, such as deep breathing, that can be completed without even leaving your desk. Taking a couple deep breaths through your nose and exhaling through your mouth to the count of five has been linked to lower heart rates and decreased blood pressure.
If you are unsure how to begin meditating, there are a number of free mediation-related smartphone apps available. Many of them are so popular, counselors have begun using them and other technologies within and outside of counseling sessions. Certain apps can be customized to provide meditation routines for short time periods, or even suggestions for mediation when you’re on the fly.
Breaks Improve Performance
It can sometimes seem like taking a break will only prolong the amount of work that must be accomplished before going home. However, a number of studies have indicated this is not really the case at all. In fact, short breaks are important productivity boosters in that they allow your brain to focus on something else for a while and come back rejuvenated. Taking a break actually reduces the amount of time it takes to complete a task!
Allowing yourself to take short two to three minute walking breaks every couple hours can help improve oxygen flow to your brain, which in turn boosts your processing abilities. If possible, take a longer walking break and gain some of the added stress relief benefits of exercise. Exercise helps relieve some of the adrenaline that gets built up in a stressed body, and releases endorphins that make you feel happier.
If you have a hectic work schedule, it’s important to manage your time more effectively by taking some time for yourself. It sounds highly counterintuitive, but small stress relief breaks such as meditation and exercise have been linked to more productivity and greater workplace happiness. Furthermore, making small breaks can greatly improve your mental and physical health.
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