How many times have you arrived at work already feeling stressed and your workday hasn’t even started?
Work can be a big stressor, even if you love your job. Living with chronic stress can cause loss of sleep, depression, decreased immune function and other health problems.
The good news is there are many strategies to help reduce work-related stress.
- A Peaceful Moment:Take a few minutes to relax by yourself before leaving for work. Gaze out the window, listen to some soothing music, or take a slow walk around the block.
- Body Awareness:While driving to the office, be aware of your body tension such as hands wrapped tightly around the steering wheel. Focus on relaxing and dissolving the tension.
- Drive Slow:Stay in the right-hand lane and go only the speed limit. This means leaving the house in plenty of time so you don’t feel rushed.
- Stoplight Check-In:When you stop at a red light, pay attention to your breathing and relax your muscles. Smile. Do not check your phone or email.
- Deep Breath:When you arrive at work, take a moment to orient yourself before getting out of the car. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.
- Desk Check-In:While at your desk, consciously relax. Pay attention to your body tension and let it go.
- Timeto Unwind: Take a 2-5 minute break in the morning and afternoon to unwind. Go for a walk around the outside of the building.
- Lunch Break:Eat your lunch away from your desk. Visit with fellow employees, but don’t talk about work.
- Make a List:Before you leave your office, make a list of what needs to be done the next day. By doing this, you don’t need to worry that you will forget an important item and you can focus on enjoying your evening.
- Avoiding Road Rage:On the way home from work, drive the speed limit, don’t rush. Relax your hands on the steering wheel. Listen to some soothing music. Avoid listening to the news.
- Breathe Deep at Home:When you pull into your driveway, take a minute to relax with slow, steady breathing. As you exhale, let go of all the worries from work. Orient yourself to being home.
- Change into Comfy Clothes:Change out of your work clothes when you get into the house. This will help you relax and make the shift from work to home.
Often we take our work stress into our homes. Leave it at work. Instead of rushing through traffic to get home, allow your commute to service as a transition time so you will be ready to interact with family and friends.
If you need help learning to reduce stress make an appointment with a Catholic Charities counselor. Our services are fee-based with a sliding scale based on your ability to pay. Please schedule an appointment today by calling 602-749-4405.
Editor’s note: Founded in 1933, Catholic Charities provides care for the vulnerable of all faiths in Phoenix and northern Arizona through programs in foster care, early start education, housing, veteran services, refugee relocation and poverty reduction. Learn more by visiting www.catholiccharitiesaz.org. Social connections include www.facebook.com/CatholicCharitiesAZ and twitter.com/CCArizona.