It has become increasingly apparent that stress from the workplace has been an issue with 33% of work-related mental disorders coming simply from surmounting work pressures and the remaining 67% ranging from exposure to workplace violence, bullying and harassment, and other workplace psychological stressors.
As a man, you may feel that there is no place to turn to deal with workplace stress, but you’re not alone. More than half of men have heard other men talking about the struggles involved with trying to balance life and work.
There are ways to save your mental health and even experience the zen of true work-life balance, just follow these ten simple tips to deal with work-related stress.
Not only does exercise boost creativity and productivity, it also helps shield your body and mind from the effects of stress. Take a quick jog in the morning, or even walk a lap around the office.
This serves quadruple duty to cleanse your system of cortisol, release endorphins to perk up your mood, and boost your brain power with both efficiency and creativity so you can solve work issues faster and with ease.
Go easy on the protein.
Even if you’re a meat and potatoes kind of guy, trading out just a portion of meat or cheese for a leafy green vegetable if you’re dealing with work stress. This helps your body combat the harmful effects of stress hormones on your system which have an added downside of increasing your waistline. If you can’t stomach greens, try lentils which still pack a protein punch and have a bean-like texture.
For bonus points, eat something purple or blue like red cabbage, blueberries, or blackberries. These foods are filled with anthocyanins which are touted for their healthy, protective effect on the brain.
Check your posture
When you need a quick fix for how to deal with stress at work, one of the easiest and fastest things you can do is correct your posture. Poor posture increases cortisol and lowers testosterone. So, if you often find yourself slouching, straighten up or stretch a bit to lower your stress levels, boost your testosterone and energy levels, and prepare yourself to better deal with the demands of the modern world.
If you can make this a long-term habit, you might notice decreasing weight and better sleep quality as well.
Get enough sleep.
Speaking of sleep, be certain you get enough of it. According to the National Sleep Foundation, if you’re between 18 and 64 years old, it is recommended you sleep for 7-9 hours nightly.
Of course, this can be difficult if you have a newborn at home, you’re drowning in work tasks, and you can’t seem to stop thinking at night.
The key to getting enough sleep lies in combining the habits listed here to help you be able to doze off more quickly and sleep soundly. Another thing that can help you get to dreamland in a reasonable amount of time is to turn off your electronics at least an hour before bed.
Learn to say no.
This is true especially if you find yourself staying up too late working on projects or grabbing fast food, because you feel you don’t have time for anything else.
Of course, it may not be in your best interest to look your boss in the eyes and say, “No!” for no apparent reason. This, like many things in life, is about choosing your battles. Decline offers that don’t bring you joy, like a night out with the guys when you just want to lie down and rest. Weigh the costs, and choose to remove unnecessary tasks from your life so that you have time to recuperate and process.
Make time for you-time.
Speaking of recuperation, make sure you make time for yourself. If you have a demanding job along with a family to assist once you’re home, you may feel like you don’t have time for this. Get up 20 minutes early, if you must. But, once you start saying “no” and eating right so you work quickly and sleep well, you can clear 20 consecutive minutes from your day to foster something you love.
Whether this is a hobby or something else you enjoy, make sure to carve out time for it at least four days per week. At 80 minutes per week, that’s less than the length of your average movie. If you find you idly watch TV, try trading this out to help recover your mind and spirit from work stress and recharge your proverbial batteries.
Train your mind to turn off your “work-brain” at home.
If all you do is think about work and all its stress when you’re at home, then you’re never really off.
Learn to make your brain exit stress-mode when you leave the office. You can achieve this through meditation. You can also create this paradigm by consciously catching the habit, telling your mind “no!”, then redirecting your train of thought. No matter how many times it arises, focus on catching and diverting your thoughts, and eventually your brain will get the message and stop.
Then, you can relax.
Discuss your concerns.
Your family will not judge you if you voice your concerns to them. Feel free to open up to them. When you tell them about your struggles, you may find that a weight has been lifted off your chest, even with no other change. They may even have their own tips for dealing with work stress.
If you feel as if you can’t speak to your family, then hire a therapist. Just be certain you have someone, somehow, that you can communicate with openly about your concerns, because this is vital for your long-term mental health.
Limit time spent on stressful people.
Don’t blatantly ignore your boss if he or she is a source of stress. However, whether it’s your boss, sister-in-law, or just a gossipy coworker, limit the time you spend on them. This could mean shortening conversations by using body language to clue them in that you’re not willing to chat. It also has to do with your thoughts.
Don’t spend time thinking or worrying about these people if they only complicate your life. Use the same tricks to turn off your work-brain to turn off your negativity-brain. We all have the same amount of time to think per day, so use that time on strengthening and benefitting yourself and those you care about instead of on drama, gossip, and negativity. When you no longer have to passively accept and subsequently dread these conversations, that alone can greatly reduce stress at work.
Ask for leave when you need it.
Whether you need a mental health day, vacation, or even paternity leave, don’t be afraid to take it. While it may seem at first glance that this could negatively impact your career, good bosses understand the benefits of time off. Not to mention, once you come back to the office, you will be a more fulfilled, well-rounded person with fresh ideas and a cheerier perspective which are all the better to solve problems with–even the ones that might have had you stuck before you took the time to breathe.
If it is paternity leave that you need, know the difference that a happy wife and happy child can do to balance your career and help you ease the stress of the workplace in your day to day life as well.
Photo: Getty Images