Several years ago, I took a stress management quiz as one component of incentivizing employee’s families to lower their health insurance costs. With all the information out there on how to be healthy, reduce our stress, and be more effective, I did not think that this quiz would teach me anything new. But it did. Here are a few take-aways. Small changes in our daily habits can make a huge difference not only on reducing stress, but helping us feel better and therefore, being more effective at work.
Many people I coach bring up that stress is killing them. If affects their ability to concentrate, sleep and be present and focused. A lot of times it’s the fear that they will not be able to sustain some new healthy changes that keeps them from trying or experimenting with stress reduction techniques.
Or, when their Doctor tells them their condition is exacerbated by stress, they deny that it could be their situation.
Some fast facts:
Up to 85% of medical problems may be related to stress. Some of those symptoms are:
- Drinking more than you planned
- Heart Palpitations
- Migraine headaches
- Inability to concentrate
Your body’s top priorities under stress are an increased heart rate and blood pressure, rapid breathing, increased blood sugar, increased perspiration. So next time you feel one of those symptoms, think about why it is happening and what you can do to lower your stress.
How to manage your stress?
- Respect the power of sleep
- Stretch at desk or workplace, and move every hour
- Eat a more powerful breakfast for fuel
- Stay off the caffeine, it may hurt more than help
- Learn when you are most productive and plan assignments accordingly
- Drink more water
- Get an accountability buddy to check in with regarding your progress
- Build a stronger network of friends
- Prioritize work so you can accomplish the most important tasks first
Exercising just 10 minutes a day improves your health by 60%. Try to fit 10 more minutes in. Maybe it is taking the stairs, parking far away in the parking lot, getting your heart rate up by walking fast, walking after dinner. Chances are, if you do an activity for 10 minutes, you may want to continue for longer.
If you already work out, change up your work outs for more short bursts of cardio. Get some resistance bands. You can take them with you when you travel. Just a few minutes a day with the bands can build up muscle, increase your heart rate and make you stronger.
Cut back on the TV or social media screen time. Break that cycle. Find something fun to do that will keep you motivated to do it in place of the habit that is not reducing your stress.
Bottom line is that you don’t need to make radical changes. Take it one step at a time. Start small and you will be rewarded with the mental and physical energy to keep it up. Decide today what the one thing is that you will commit to.