Working with clients on alleviating workplace stress led me to these simple but effective ways to contribute to a successful 2015:
1) Take a small break every few hours. Taking a break means going for a walk around the block, taking a walk around the office, closing your office door, etc. Just 15-minutes away from the workplace (physically and especially mentally) can vastly improve focus and concentration. Incorporating mindfulness is especially beneficial (next bullet point).
2) Incorporating mindfulness into your day. Mindfulness simply means being present and not letting your thoughts drift to the future or past. For example, sitting in your office chair and simply noticing your breathing and any physical sensations (i.e. the weight of your spine against the back of your chair). If your mind wanders to a conversation you had earlier in the day or to a meeting you have later, notice that thought, let it go, and focus your attention back to your breathing.
3) Spend your mental energy on things you can control. Many of us waste precious time and energy ruminating about things that are out of our control. Divide thoughts related to work into two categories: things you can control and things you cannot control. Then make action plans for the things that are in your control. You will feel a sense of relief and accomplishment when you begin to execute. Note: Making lists is a good way to organize tasks that are in your control.
4) Spend time around upbeat coworkers. Spending time with negative coworkers can make work more difficult to bear. There are times when we are forced to work with those who are typically negative or love to gossip. This may be something that’s out of your control. However, if you do have time for water cooler talk, try to spend more time with those who are positive and have a realistic outlook on things.
5) Be assertive without being aggressive. Many of us feel pressure to say “yes” to everything, even if it’s unreasonable. This can add unwanted and unnecessary stress and anxiety. Establish realistic boundaries and don’t be afraid to push back when appropriate. Remember, how we say things can be much more impactful than what we say. Make sure you are aware of your tone and body language.