A new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds extraordinary levels of workplace stress, with only about half of workplaces offering wellness or stress-reduction programs.
If your workplace is stressful and your employer isn’t helping, here are some things you can do for yourself:
- Stop checking your email compulsively. Instead, check it strategically.
- While you are at it, stop checking your phone constantly, too. For example, take a break and go for a walk outside — but leave your phone at your desk.
- Minimize interruptions. Interruptions contribute to stress and overwhelm, making us feel conflicted and time-pressured. As we shift our focus between tasks–as when we steal a glance at our email while we are working on a presentation–it increases our perception that we have too much to do in the time that we have to do it.
- Take work-free vacations.
- Unplug from technology one full weekend day per week.
- Establish “predictable time off” with your colleagues and family. When will you commit to not working? Start with dinnertime, work up to weekends.
- Take recess throughout the day.
- Stop talking about how stressed and busy you are. You’re training your brain to see all the reasons you should be freaking out and overwhelmed.
- Create an anti-busyness ritual.
- Change your notion of what makes someone an “ideal worker.”
- Let yourself really focus on something. Find your flow — time will seem to stand still.
- Create a more effective to-do list.
- Only do the things that you want to do. Really.
- Breathe out. Twice.
- Do a short loving-kindness meditation.
- Take a lunch break.
- Single task.
- Develop a way to “give good no.” As in: “Thank you so much for asking, but that isn’t going to work out for me right now.”
- Learn how to accomplish more by working less.
If you need help managing workplace stress, I hope you’ll check out my latest eCourse, The Science of Finding Flow. In 9 self-paced units, I’ll show you how to optimize your brain so that you can allow your most joyful, productive, energetic, and successful self to emerge. I’ll teach you how to be happy while accomplishing your goals — and while still having energy left over for the things you want to do. Enroll now!
To listen to my full interview on NPR and learn additionals ways to reduce workplace stress, click here.