COPE CopeLine Supervisor

April 2018

Your Wellness & Work-Life Newsletter

Reducing Workplace Stress


Relaxing at work may sound like an oxymoron, but research shows you'll be healthier in the long run if you can avoid letting your job stress you out. "Practicing relaxation techniques can improve your ability to think clearly," says Warren L. Huberman, Ph.D., a New York psychologist. "When you're relaxed, the quality of your work will improve."

Use the following techniques throughout your workday to manage stress, feel better and get more done.

Personalize Your Workspace
• Posting photos of loved ones, relaxing places, a recent vacation spot or destination you want to go to can provide respite from stressful situations. "It's easy to get lost in whatever is going on when you're at your desk. Looking at a pleasant picture temporarily takes you someplace else," says Dr. Huberman.

Fragrant fresh-cut flowers also can help you reduce stress, as can a memento from your childhood.

Go For a Walk
• People often make jokes about feeling like they're chained to their desks, says Dr. Huberman, but that image indicates how confining the workplace can seem sometimes. To physically break the stress cycle, he says, "walk around the block or to a different part of the building." If you can't leave your desk for long, you can at least visit the bathroom. "The bathroom is one of the few places where you're not likely to be followed, where you can actually get a few minutes to yourself," says Dr. Huberman.

Keep a Stress Journal
• Write in your journal for two weeks. Include what is causing your stress, the day of the week and time of the day it occurred and how you handled it. At the end of the two weeks, read your journal to determine if there's a pattern. Is your stress related to the type of work you're doing? Is the job too complicated? Do you need more training? Is your workload too much? Is the work boring, with not enough challenge? Or does your stress come from people: managers, co-workers or complaining customers? When you better understand the triggers to your stress, you'll be better equipped to develop a coping strategy.

Take a Vacation Day
• You don't function well at work when you're overly stressed, so take a day off to have some fun. This will recharge your batteries and keep things in perspective.

Take Time to Reflect
• Besides these short-term stress-reducing techniques, investigating the causes of your stress also can help. "It's vital to explore your life and the sources of your stress," says Dr. Huberman. Ask yourself: Am I doing with my life what I like? Are the decisions I've made in my life genuine, or am I living somebody else's expectations? What steps could I take to improve my life?

"You can be having the time of your life in a stressful job if it's genuinely what you want to do," says Dr. Huberman. "The job doesn't affect your health adversely because you've made the decision and you have a sense of control. You start running into problems with stress-related issues when you relinquish control."

The StayWell Company, LLC © 2018.

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