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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Workplace Stress: 5 Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Stress at Work

I've been hearing more and more from clients and friends about how excessive work demands have been taking a toll on their stress levels.  With fewer employees, companies are expecting the remaining employees to pick up the slack and, often, ask them to take on  the duties of two or more former employees.  This often causes a lot of stress and fatigue, so that even when they're home with their loved ones, they're too tired and stressed out to spend quality time with them.

Workplace Stress Can Have Serious Consequences For Your Health and Personal Relationships
Consider the Consequences of Stress to Your Health and Personal Relationships
Before you sign on for extra work projects, it would be wise for you to consider the consequences of taking on this extra work and stress to your health and your personal relationships.  An optimal amount of stress (whatever is optimal for you personally) can help you to focus and accomplish tasks.  But when stress is excessive, as it usually is when you're taking on too many work tasks, it can compromise your immune system.

Over time, if you get little or no relief from the stress, it can cause you to develop stress-related illnesses like headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), high blood pressure, heart problems and other chronic illnesses.

5 Things You Can Do to Reduce Stress at Work

Go out for a short walk:
This sounds so simple, but it can really make a difference to go out for a short walk (longer, if you can) to get away, even for 10 or 15 minutes from work stress.  Rather than having lunch at your desk and trying to do work, take a break and go out.  When you come back, you'll feel refreshed.

Take a nap at lunch time:
If you have your own office where you can close the door, set an alarm for 20 minutes or half an hour at lunch time and take a nap.  Taking a nap in the middle of the day can do wonders to help you feel revived.  People who take a short nap during the day usually feel revived after their nap, and they can approach their work with more energy.

Listen to a guided meditation recording:
There are so many different guided meditation recordings that you can download from the Internet.  I usually recommend that you set an alarm before you listen to the recording to make sure that you don't snooze away the rest of the day.  Guided meditations can help you to feel that you've gotten away for a while from your work environment, at least, on an emotional level.

Get up, stretch and breathe:
Rather than sitting hunched over your desk the entire day, get up at least once every hour or so and stretch.  Even simple stretches can help to relax tense muscles so you feel less stressed out.  When we're very stressed out, we sometimes breathe in a very shallow way.  When  you get up to stretch, check out whether you're taking full, relaxing breaths when you breathe or if you're taking shallow breaths.  Make a conscious effort to take a few deep breaths to calm yourself and help you to relax.

Learn to say "no" when you can:
This can be a tough one.  You know your boss and your work environment.  If there are times when you feel you can say "no" without jeopardizing your job, learn to say "no" at those times.  If you always accept extra assignments, the expectation will be that your boss can continue to overload you with extra work all of the time.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

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