© Copyright ClearPath Benefits

Reducing Work Stress In The Summer

Originally posted by United Benefits Advisors, LLC (UBA).
Ask any employee how they’re doing and you’re likely to hear the answer, “I’m feeling stressed today.” Oh, really? EVERYONE at work is stressed at one time or another.

That being said, there are definitely levels of stress and some jobs are more stressful than others. According to Forbes.com, the ten MOST stressful jobs of 2014 are: Enlisted Military Personnel, Military General, Firefighter, Airline Pilot, Event Coordinator, Public Relations Executive, Senior Corporate Executive, Newspaper Reporter, Police Officer, and Taxi Driver. On the flipside, the LEAST stressful jobs of 2014 are: Audiologist, Hair Stylist, Jeweler, University Professor, Seamstress/Tailor, Dietician, Medical Records Technician, Librarian, Multi Media Artist, and Drill Press Operator.

Most people know someone who is over-caffeinated, always frantic, and rushing around like a chicken with its head cut off. While stress can sometimes be motivational, the key is not to accept, complain, or — even worse — brag about the level of workplace stress, but rather to actually do something to reduce it. While many people may think they need to totally disconnect from work, go to a gym, or take a vacation in order to reduce their stress, another excellent article on Forbes.com discusses the simple ways people can de-stress without significantly altering their daily routine.

The first tip is to breathe. People do this every day as part of the body’s autonomic function, but a stressed employee should take a moment to deliberately change his or her breathing pattern. Sit up straight, or even stand up. Then take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and exhale slowly. Repeat this a few times.

Another way to reduce stress is to go outside. Many employees get cooped up in their office or cubicle and don’t have access to fresh air and natural sunlight. The cure for this is to take a quick break and head outdoors. It may not seem like a big deal, but couple this with the breathing exercise and stress will seem to melt away in the summer heat.

I mentioned earlier that a person doesn’t need to go to the gym to reduce stress, but that doesn’t mean exercise is off limits. On the contrary, physical activity is perfect for releasing endorphins — the body’s “feel good” neurotransmitters that naturally reduce stress. It doesn’t really matter what employees do for exercise, they just need to pick something they enjoy and stick with it.

“Greening” a person’s workspace is another great solution. By “greening,” I’m not referring to being environmentally friendly — though that’s good, too — I mean that plants should be added as a calming effect.

If these simple tips aren’t enough, then it’s time to tackle the tougher workplace stress inducers. Get the complicated or tough stuff out of the way first. Most people don’t want to deal with their most difficult tasks, yet these are exactly what are causing the most amounts of stress. Get them out of the way and everything else will be a piece of cake.

As each task is completed, it’s now time to unclutter that messy desk. If you work in an office, one of the key ways to relax is to create a calming environment. Besides the aforementioned “greening,” a well-organized workspace, where only what’s needed is kept and the rest filed or shredded, is an excellent stress-relieving regimen.

Finally, if you can, stop multi-tasking. Human beings are just not great multi-taskers and when they are pulled in many directions, the greater the stress. Consider this example: it’s much less stressful to simply drive to a destination versus drive, talk/text on a mobile phone, listen to the radio, discipline kids in the vehicle, all while following a GPS.

How each employee reduces his or her stress is up to them, but it’s important to know that there are many options that require little in terms of effort. It’s up to the employee to figure out what methods work best.