When the Workday Just Won't End: Coping Skills for Stress at Work
Posted on: 02 October 2020 by Nina McPherson
Stress takes a tremendous toll on both the American worker and the American economy. Learning the right coping techniques for stress, especially at work, can save your sanity, your job, and even your life.
The right stress-management techniques can make work—and life—a lot easier
Everyone’s had workdays that never seem to end—when every Zoom call goes wonky, and your most annoying colleague hammers your last nerve. It sucks, but it sure happens.
Stress takes a tremendous toll on both the American worker and the American economy. Learning the right coping techniques for stress, especially at work, can save your sanity, your job, and even your life!
Check out the ideas below the next time you feel like you’re about to lose it on the job:
1. Mindfulness meditation is an easy, effective technique for coping with stress
Many books have been written about mindfulness, the hottest trend in the meditation world today. Whether you feel scattered and unable to focus, anxious, or about to blow your top, taking a few moments to be mindful can make a tremendous difference.
Mindfulness has been proven to help reduce stress and improve performance among firefighters, college football players, US military service members, and more.
Because this meditation has such great benefits, more companies are implementing official mindfulness programs for employees, including Google, Adobe, the Mayo Clinic, Aetna, and Target. As a regular practice, it can help with problem-solving, learning new information, adaptability, creativity, vitality, and increased empathy! And it takes just a few minutes, whether at a regularly scheduled time or in an anxiety crisis.
How can you practice mindfulness at work? It’s easier than you think! It can be as simple as really being present in the moment—paying attention to what you’re doing and only to that. For a lot of people, anxiety and stress come from focusing on too much at once. Drilling down your awareness to the one thing that is most important NOW can be a huge help.
Pro tips: Use simple reminders like an alarm on your phone that reminds you to take a deep, calming breath. If you can, set a time to practice mindfulness or another kind of meditation, and block it off on your company calendar, so no one expects you at a meeting.
2. Music can soothe the savage beast!
Whether you prefer to allow Brahms to lull you or want to jam to 80s hair metal while you work, a great playlist can make a stressful day a lot easier to take.
Quality headphones or earbuds can also help you shut out the rest of the world, especially in an open office or cube farm. (Working at home? Lucky you! Blast your tunes as loud as the HOA will allow!)
Take a few minutes and create playlists that will help with whatever mood you need and have them downloaded and ready to go on your phone or laptop: energizing, relaxing, inspirational, or soothing.
Apps like Calm and Rain Rain can provide mixes of music and nature sounds that can transport you to another place—away from fluorescent lights and the annoying sounds of your office mate slurping her coffee.
Pro tip: If you’re in an office and it’s going to be hard for people to tell you have earbuds in, put up a note, so they know you aren’t ignoring them!
3. Move this!
When things get stressful, just take yourself out of the situation. Go for a short walk—in fresh air, if you can. Study after study shows that sitting down too much is killing us—or at least making us fat and sick. Getting up for a few minutes every hour is beneficial for your blood pressure, waistline, and stress level.
Take those playlists you made and get out of the office for a while. Whether you take five to seven minutes every hour or 30 minutes twice a day, every part of your life will benefit from getting out of your chair for some movement.
It also helps break the hours up, making it easier to cope with days that seem to go forever.
4. Munching can relieve stress, but only the right foods
We’ve all seen that candy bar ad on TV. You know, the one where people aren’t themselves because they need FOOD. “Hanger” is a real thing!
Too many people reach for the wrong foods when they’re stressed out, however. It’s really easy to grab sugar or junk food. (What workplace doesn’t have a chocolate stash?) But your body and stress levels will thank you if you go for healthy options that won’t cause a surge in blood sugar, followed by an agonizing crash.
Fortunately, you can stress eat in a way that will keep you feeling focused and productive, plus reduce the chances you eat a coworker for lunch.
Foods high in potassium, magnesium, omega-3s, and calcium are healthy choices to fight stress. But Swiss chard and salmon aren’t exactly convenient for snacking in the office (and please – no fish in the microwave!).
So, look for snack options like protein-filled nuts that keep your blood sugar stable. Chocolate is okay, as long as it’s dark chocolate, which has less sugar and higher levels of antioxidants than milk or white.
Pro tip: Keep snacks like peanut butter and whole-grain crackers or apples, cheese, yogurt, and protein bars or trail mix on hand, so you aren’t as tempted by the doughnuts in the breakroom!
5. CBD gummies can help you mellow out, even at work
On those days you’re tearing your hair out over work stress or feel like a nervous breakdown is around the corner, give CBD gummies a try.
The calming effect of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids—minus THC that will get you stoned or pop a drug test—take the edge off, so you keep your cool under the toughest deadlines.
Plus, Sunday Scaries gummies also have Vitamin D3 and Vitamin B12, which are known to elevate your mood and regulate your nervous system. And coconut oil is another key ingredient that can help improve brain function.
Chill out and get your work on with a clear head
Stress happens. It’s inevitable. But some simple coping skills—and some awesome CBD gummies—can soothe your woes, loosen your mind up, and make everyday annoyances a lot easier to deal with. Even when that guy in the office starts telling you about his colonoscopy.
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