Stress in the workplace can have serious consequences. At the very least, workplace stress leads to a decrease in productivity and mental acuity and negatively impacts your personal and professional relationships. Long-term stress can have deleterious effects on your health.
The four main causes of workplace stress include lack of job security (6%), juggling work and personal lives (20%), people issues (28%), and workload (46%). Finding ways to manage these issues is becoming increasingly important. And while it might be nice to go for a long walk or meditate for thirty minutes to decompress, these options are often not practical under tight deadlines and other work commitments. So, more and more people are seeking creative ways to reduce stress at work.
Here are five creative ways to reduce workplace stress.
- A drawer full of healthy snacks.
Good food is fuel for the brain and the body. Comfort foods, while great at the moment, will leave you feeling lethargic. Unfortunately, when we’re stressed our brains release cortisol, which makes us crave salty, sweet, and fatty foods. The best way to combat this is to keep a drawer full of healthy snacks. Just because they’re healthy, doesn’t mean they have to taste bad. Try blueberries or other fruits when you have a craving for something sweet. Nuts are great alternatives when you want to reach for the salt. And a high-quality protein will combat most fatty foods.
- A bowl of Dove chocolates
I know this one is super specific and you’re probably wondering why. Besides the fact that Dove Chocolates has been around since 1939, practices sustainable harvesting, empowers women, and positively impacts the communities where they harvest, each Dove chocolate is wrapped with an individual positive affirmation. As an added benefit, when someone stops by your desk – you’re offering them something nice. Little “gifts” can make a big difference in brightening your day and your coworkers.
- Noise-cancelling headphones
When it’s absolutely impossible to step away from your desk, don some noise-cancelling headphones. Noise-cancelling headphones are designed to cancel or reduce ambient noise. Benefits include increased productivity in noisy work environments and reduced stress caused by overstimulation.
- Bring your dog to work
One survey showed that between 75% and 95% of employees felt that pets in the workplace improved morale, relationships, work-life balance, and work hours. Dogs have a great way of reminding us to take breaks, not take life too seriously, and play. Dogs in the workplace increases productivity, communication, and reduces absenteeism. Really, who doesn’t want to stop by and pet your dog?
- Use an aromatherapy diffuser
Aromatherapy is a powerful mood enhancer. Certain aromas, especially the citruses like sweet orange and grapefruit, can lift your spirits and give you more energy. Essential oil affects the limbic system in the brain which impacts emotions and stimulants. Research is showing that essential oils have the ability to alter our mood and improve performance at work by decreasing stress and increasing attentiveness.
Of course, it goes without saying to boost your exercise, get some rest, and take up some form of meditative practice – whether that is yoga, mindfulness meditation, or forest therapy.
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