What is making you stressed?
Written by Allison Brown, Occupational Health Physiotherapist.
If you have a stress-related problem, physical activity can get you in the right state of mind to be able to identify the causes of your stress and find a solution. To deal with stress effectively, you need to feel robust and you need to feel strong mentally.
Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and enabling you to deal with your problems more calmly.
These are some top stress-reducing suggestions:
Try walking or cycling as part of your journey, and taking the stairs instead of the lift. Getting off the bus a stop earlier or parking the car a little further away is a very easy way to increase your activity.
Easy exercise at work
Breaking up the day to avoid too much time sitting, or doing repetitive tasks, rotating your time between tasks, and moving and stretching regularly can help you think and keep you motivated
- Wear a light weight headset and if possible stand up to make some of your phone calls. Don’t wedge the phone between your head and shoulder
- Take all your breaks and get away from your workstation. Go for walks at lunchtime, or sign up for a class like aerobics or yoga
- Practise good posture for the tasks you’re expected to do. Bad habits, such as slouching, along with stress and anxiety can affect posture – causing you to hunch your shoulders, for example.
- Sit to the front of your chair, rotate your upper body to the left, holding on to the backrest of your seat with your right hand. Hold for five seconds, then swap sides.
- Hold your hands together loosely behind your neck and stretch your elbows back so you can feel the pull on your shoulder blades–don’t press your hands into your neck. Hold for five seconds.
- Put your arms out in front of you with straight elbows and push your palms away from your body for five seconds.
Keep connected with people
A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.
Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport helps to build confidence. That in turn will help you deal with stress.
Avoid unhealthy habits
Don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. Over the long term, these crutches won’t solve your problems.
Combine this with eating well and getting a good night’s sleep and you’re much more likely to feel mentally refreshed and ready to face the working day.
Help other people
Evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient. Helping people will often help you put your own problems into perspective.The more you give, the more resilient and happy you feel.
Look for the positives in life, and things for which you’re grateful. Problems are often a question of perspective.
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are and concentrate on everything that you do have control over.