There isn’t a career (no matter how ideal it may be) that doesn’t come without some minor hiccups and blocks in the road. Here are ten creative ways to reboot and recharge no matter what may cause the stress of your work day, so that you can be as productive as possible!
1. Healthy Office Snacks
• Avoid any type of office food (unless it’s full of protein and fiber).
• Refuse to eat any food out a vending machine or drink more than 2–3 cups of coffee (anything more and you’ll become dehydrated, causing you to eat more than you should).
• Focus on prepared or pre-packaged, non-processed foods you bring from home—apples with peanut butter, unsalted nuts, hummus with vegetables, whole grain bread with turkey and cheese, crackers and almond butter, fresh fruit, etc.
2. Lunch Hour Meditation
• Resist the temptation to work through lunch—it will only add to your stress level.
• Find an empty room in the office, and close the door. Sit still, breath in and out, close your eyes and picture yourself on the beach.
o Imagine hearing the seagulls flying overhead, and the white sand warming up your toes (which have cleverly dug themselves in to keep warm!)
o Dip your feet in the water, and watch the waves go over your feet and crash upon your shins. As each miniature wave hits you, repeat this affirmation: “With each wave that passes upon me, I am being rejuvenated in mind, body and soul. As I look out at the ocean, I see the big picture of my life, and it is beautiful, serene and prosperous.”
• “This minute is a tiny drop in my entire career, and just like all other things, I will enjoy what it teaches me, and rise above it!”
• “I believe in my ability to be a skilled professional in my particular craft. As I recognize my talent, so do my co-workers and boss.”
• “As I go the extra mile for each and every project I take on, I am monetarily compensated for it.”
4. Keep Track of Your Overtime (by Leaving on Time as Often as Possible!)
• One of the quickest ways to become stressed is to stay past the 5pm requirement and work late into the night to prove to yourself (or your boss) that you can take it all on—even with less sleep.
• Occasional overtime may be necessary, but don’t make it a habit.
• Instead, focus on overtime as a priority, and do it only when it’s for a deadline, not when you still have to send out a few emails (which can wait until the next day).
5. Become an Avid List Maker
• Make lists to avoid work stress—keep it on your desk, or tucked away in your briefcase (wherever you’ll remember to glance at it daily.)
• Make a pros and cons list for every goal you have; a daily goals list for all of your tasks; and a weekly planner for each major work commitment you’re responsible for.
• Cross off tasks as you complete them—it will instantly make you feel like you’re being a proactive accomplisher!
6. Avoid Office Gossip
• Gossip can weigh you down—avoid the chatter around the water cooler.
• Did you know office gossip can even get you fired?
• Show your boss (and everyone around you) that why you want to be liked and that you’re positive and energetic with a lot to do by leaving the gossip to others.
• Caught in a gossip session you can’t get out of? Change the topic casually, as if you have something pressing to talk to everyone about.
7. Save as Much as Possible (to Avoid the Worry of Being Laid Off)
• One of biggest stressors in your career could be getting laid off unexpectedly.
• Plan ahead—the common recommendation is at least three months’ worth of expenses in a savings account—the aim is six months to be on the safe side.
• Limit your anxiety by having enough to get you through—continue focusing on the great performance you’re doing at work, and enjoy having a savings account that continues to grow.
8. Practice Deep Breathing Throughout Your Day
• Deep breathing improves brain function, job performance, and energy levels, and helps you make smarter food choices.
• Take time to breathe when you email coworkers, listen to your boss, focus on your meeting notes, and take your client out to lunch.
• Breathing helps you stay calm in stressful situations—use deep breathing throughout your day, and you’ll de-stress with each breath you take.
9. Complete the Most Difficult Task First
• Work stress is often caused by workload.
• Eliminate the hardest task first (and the one that takes up the most time)—become the opposite of a procrastinator
• Gain confidence as you complete difficult tasks first, leaving your schedule freed up for the easier ones.
10. Visualize a Stress-free Day of Work (and It Will Become Your Reality!)
• Focus on pleasing images that bring you happiness—your childhood bedroom, or walking outdoors in nature.
• Visualizations force your attention to be somewhere happy, instead of focused on the stress of your workload.
• Breath in and out, close your eyes, and imagine the sights, sounds and smells of your “happy place.” Feel instantly lighter after a few minutes of visualizing where you want to be!
A Few Last Words …
Why struggle to work harder when you can just work smarter? Whether you need to maximize your work day or decrease the amount of tasks you continue to put on your plate, breathing deeply, making effective to-do lists, and visualizations can all decrease your stress—guaranteed!