We all get stressed, and it’s often a beneficial response in our everyday life helping us accomplish our goals. But sometimes our stress levels climb and can go on for prolonged periods of time, which can adversely affect our nervous system and contribute to anxiety. Learning to keep our stress at manageable levels is important for everyone’s mental and physical health.
High levels of stress releases cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body. Cortisol impacts a wide range of bodily functions, and can suppress our immune system, affect our thinking, and cause other physical and psychological health problems.
Managing stress at work is important for keeping yourself anxiety free
1. Check your physical health
Sometimes physical health conditions impact our mental and emotional health and make us susceptible to feeling more stressed and overwhelmed – have you recently had a thorough physical check by your local doctor?
2. Nutrition and appetite
If your appetite is affected, try and have some healthy snacks and lots of water regularly throughout the day to give your body fuel to fight the effects of stress. Light foods such as salads, fruit and nuts are good for this and not too heavy on your stomach.
3. Sleep is important
Get enough good quality sleep to help with workloads and stressful situations. Sleep hygiene is important for this.
4. Talk to someone you trust
Looking at ways to reduce the stress at work where possible would be good to aim for. Can you talk to a manager or colleugue about the stressors at work and what you might be able to put in place to help reduce them? For example some time management tips eg by prioritising workloads we can get important work done and stop us from getting sidetracked by less important time wasting tasks.
5. Simple breathing techniques are very helpful
See my post about simple but effective breathing techniques here. You can also connect with a therapist in your area who can help you with these and more strategies. Practising regular (daily) breathing and relaxation exercises will calm your body’s nervous system and reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
6. Regular exercise
I know, I know you’ve heard it all before but it really does help! Regular physical exercise will help you eliminate stress from your body and help lift your mood. Even a half hour of brisk walking 3-4 times a week will help – you need to get your heart rate up to get the best results, so walking fast will do the trick. Cortisol levels (the stress hormone) are reduced and your body releases feel-good endorphins and the feel good hormones seratonin and dopamine. This then helps you cope with stress and anxiety, physically, mentally and emotionally.