8 Tips on How to Leave Stress at the Office

Stress can affect your mental & physical health, performance and productivity - Remember to embrace the summer holidays!

50+ hour work weeks, pressure and work stress can have an impact on your mental- and physical health and affect your performance at work and productivity. Stress can also affect the quality and amount of sleep we get and everyone knows how we get when we’re tired.. Of course, not all stress is bad. A little bit of stress can help you stay focused, energetic and able to cope with new challenges at work. Stress is in fact, a leftover survival technique that humans don’t have that much use for nowadays.

However, too much of a ‘good’ thing is bad for you, this applies to stress too. When we’re stressed out and tired our brain’s capabilities to focus and create are lowered. There are a numerous amount of  studies about how stress affects your brain. Stress and the brain are closely linked, similarly to how creativity and the brain are interlinked. Your best ideas often pop-up when you’re most relaxed and in a free thinking mode, because your brain has “room” to think and process. There are three areas of the brain that are highly involved in how we respond to stressors, the amygdala, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. All these parts work with the hypothalamus to control the stress hormones and related responses, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure.

In addition to controlling how we respond to stress our brains can be affected by the stress itself: Researches have found that stressors can physically change our brains, which impacts how we learn, form memories and remember and how we make decisions. Long-term stress can also affect the actual size of our brain and have long-term effects.

 

Needless to say, rest is very important to ourselves as well as our businesses. Here are tips on how you can destress and leave work stuff at the office for the holidays:

 

  1. Get your stuff together: Before going on holidays it’s important that you take time to organize your affairs to a point where it’s ok to leave them for a few weeks or delegate the most urgent stuff to people that are going to be working. This way you don’t have to stress about unfinished things and you can focus on de-stressing.

  2. Take a break, you deserve it: Sometimes it’s hard to get away from work even when on holidays and you catch yourself checking your work email daily. Well, don’t! Delete or hide all work-related apps from your phone for the holidays and inform your customers when you’ll next be reachable. Remember to set your email on automatic response. The biggest distractions often come in small packages, do not disregard the power of technology. Notifications and even a touch of a button can lead to a chain reaction of distraction. Avoid unnecessary texting and chatter. Set aside specific times when you can check your phone for emergencies.

     

  3. Exercise. Exercising is the number one most effective way to release stress. Exercising lets you focus on something completely different than work and it’s the time when you’re focused on physical performance and your body. It relaxes your mind and does good things your body. It doesn’t matter if your favorite sport is yoga, tennis, running or swimming, do what you enjoy the most and your mood will improve.

  4. Eat well: Eating a regular, well-balanced diet helps you feel better in general and helps you control your moods. When hungry, you can end up in a bad mood, which actually increases your stress.

  5. Make time for your hobbies: If you like reading books, golfing, cooking, photography or whatever, holidays are the best time to focus on the things you like doing.Doing something that makes you feel good daily, helps relieve your stress even if it’s just for 15-30 minutes. 

  6. Remove your stress face: Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions, when people are stressed they tend to hold a lot of stress in their face and tense their muscles. Laughs and smiles help relieve that tension.

  7.  Surround yourself with social support. Spend your holidays with people you care about and don’t talk about work. If you’re working and stressed it can help to talk about it with a friend or a colleague. When you share your concerns or feelings with another person it helps you relieve stress. It’s important that this confidant is someone you trust and understands you. For example if your family is causing you stress, it can be more helpful to talk with a non-family member.
  8. Try meditation. Meditation helps the mind and body to relax and focus, mindfulness helps you see new perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness. Meditation can teach you release emotions that causes your body physical stress. There are many forms of meditation, find your own! Taking deep breaths and focusing on breathing and relaxing all your muscles may be all you need to do.

Work hard, Play harder - Getting Ready for Summer Vacation!

For busy professionals and entrepreneurs it might be hard to leave work stuff behind for holidays and even after the office hours. In our next week's blog post we have gathered some tips on how stress affects us and how to really relax and let your body and mind relax during your holiday. This article focuses on how prepare for your vacation, so you have less to stress about when leaving the office to go and enjoy summer. Consider this your checklist for a carefree vacation!

Prepare

The key to making time and headspace is to start preparing for time off a good month before you actually shut down the office. You can't control what your clients do, but you can do extra preparation to reduce the amount of work that's waiting for you after your time off. Make sure you have all invoices prepared and ready to be sent and aim to finish projects and meet deadlines before majority of the staff is out of office.

Budget

For some business owners summer vacations can mean a seasonal cash-flow headache, since clients take longer to pay and most companies tend to postpone decision-making and starting new partnerships until fall time. This doesn't lower an entrepreneur's stress level, when vacation expenses are adding up too. It makes sense to create a special budget for that period, make room in your budget for extra expenses and delayed payments.

Set clear systems and directions for employees to follow

You might struggle to unplug because you worry about the daily operations and how they're functioning. Create and communicate franchise-like operating systems that employees can easily follow while you're away. Create a document that outlines what to do across a range of scenarios, so employees can take operate in a self-imposed way. You want your employees to be able to come up with a solution on their own 95% of the time you're away, so leave clear instructions.

Draw a hard line between work and pleasure

You need to separate working-time and down-time in order to embrace relaxation. It's important not to fall into the trap of working a little and relaxing a little, it's not productive and you can't switch your mind away from work that fast, to actually relax. Plan a relaxation period in advance and complete critical tasks before unplugging, revisit final touches later on. Your brain needs a break from constant engagement.