Work Related Stress Can Damage Your Health
This post ofers a few simple steps you can take to manage your work related stress. They require some effort, but they are easy, require no investment except your time and focus, and will pay off in health benefits.
Consider each one carefully and start implementing them – one at a time – until all of them are in place. Don’t rush, your health is important. It is one of your most important assets.
Find a Quiet Space to Work
This is the ideal and should be established if at all possible. Quiet, peaceful surroundings with minimal disruptions are much more conducive to high productivity and quality results and certainly less work related stress than the opposite type of environment.
Develop Good Working Posture
This requires that you keep the keyboard and mouse within easy reach. Your elbows should be bent at approximately a ninety degree angle, and your monitor set slightly below eye level and in the center of your line of vision. If you are forced to continually turn your head one way or the other to view your monitor, you will be placing unnecessary strain on your neck muscles.
Learn to relax your shoulders as you work because sustained tension in your shoulders will create problems. Keep your back straight and use a back support, if necessary, to help maintain good posture. Do not slump!
Rest While You Are Working
For example: Perform the same tasks at a slower speed and for shorter periods of time. This helps alleviate some of the stress that the continuous repetitive movements can cause.
Take short, quick breaks (20 to 30 seconds) to stretch your neck and shoulders, shake your hands, stretch your fingers, and exercise/relax your eyes.
Water is important for your health whether you are running a marathon or working at a computer. Your body requires sufficient hydration to function at peak efficiency in any situation, so don’t think that just because you are sitting that you do not need water.
Keep a capped bottle of water at your desk and drink often! Ideally, you should drink a minimum of 32 ounces a day – 64 would be even better. The side benefit of drinking lots of water is that you will be forced to take more frequent breaks because you will have to get up and walk to the bathroom more often than you probably do now.
Learn to Let Go of Stress
Develop habits (practices) that help you let go of the stress. Learn to meditate, do yoga, or simply practice deep breathing several times a day. Stress management techniques can be very effective to relieve any kind of stress – computer-related, or not.
Allowing work related stress and tension to build in your body day-after-day and never taking any steps to relieve it can be dangerous to your health. At the very least, try the easy techniques such as taking a few deep breaths at your desk every so often to release tension that may be building – without your even realizing it.
Using those few seconds to stop and take some deep breaths – to relax your body and mind – can make the difference between ending your work day feeling tense, frustrated, and exhausted and feeling refreshed and happy with what you have accomplished.
You may try to convince yourself that such a simple thing is foolishness and takes time you do not have; but, the reality is that if you want to feel better and more relaxed at the end of the day, you should make the time. The more relaxed you are, the more productive you are and the better you feel. Tension also stifles creativity and clear thinking; plus, your moods will be lighter. Take care of your amazing mind and body, stop overloading them with stress, learn to release tension periodically throughout the day and enjoy life more.
Find and Participate in Activities that Relax You
If you reach a point when you think stress may be getting the best of you, get some help. Start an exercise program – even if it is simply walking around the block several times each evening (or on your lunch hour). Better, yet – learn to dance, take swimming lessons, go to the gym, or play basketball with your friends. Exercise is a wonderful stress reliever.
The physical release that comes from working the muscles drains the stress from your body, but that is not the only reason it is good for you. The concentration and coordination that physical exercise requires takes your mind off work and gives you a mental and emotional break as well as a physical one.
If high-energy activities are not your thing, look for other activities that relax you – such as gardening, woodworking, journaling, sewing, singing out loud with your favorite recording artists, or playing games with your children. As long as the activity takes your mind completely off work, it is doing the job and is well worth the effort.
Remember – stress affects everyone differently. The same is true for ways to deal with stress – particularly work related stress. Everyone relaxes and unwinds in his/her own way. Try different things until you find out what works for you – and then make the time on a regular basis to participate in that particular activity. It may take some effort, but you will reap the rewards.
Know When to Get Help!
If work related stess is affecting you emotionally, you may want to consider counseling, which can help you identify stressors and find productive ways to deal with them. Some people can identify stressors on their own and make the necessary changes without help, but in some cases it may take another set of eyes and ears to help you get to the root cause(s) of your stress.
The best piece of advice I can give is to figure out what is causing your tension and stress; and then, either find a way to avoid it, change it, or develop techniques to deal with it. Whatever you do – don’t just ignore it. It is highly unlikely that it will go away.