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Stressed at Work? Five Tips to Decompress

Stress might feel like a normal and acceptable byproduct of today’s world, but it can take its toll on your body. When the acute response to a stressful moment has passed the heart pounding and shallow breathing that may accompany a close call while driving or bad news from a family member the body will fall back into a relaxed state. But constant episodes of acute stress or even continual low levels of stress can contribute to chronic stress. According to the American Psychological Association, this condition that can negatively affect nearly every part of you: muscles, lungs, heart and blood vessels, adrenal glands, liver, stomach, bowel, esophagus, parts of the brain, the nervous system, and even reproductive health in both men and women.

Stress at work can come in the form of disagreements with coworkers or a supervisor, feeling like there isn’t enough time to accomplish what is needed and inappropriate or excessive demands. 

Consider these tips for managing stress at work.

1. Set boundaries between work and home.

People struggle with setting boundaries the most.

Setting boundaries can be really difficult to do because you feel like you should say yes to everything, but you end up missing out on home life and time with family and friends because you haven’t set up proper boundaries.

This may include not responding to emails or phone calls after a certain time of day, saying no to projects you don’t have time to complete within regular work hours or taking accrued vacation time. 

Communicate boundaries with your supervisor and coworkers so others know what to expect, and to respect others who have set up their own work/life boundaries.

2. Get some physical activity during the day.

Physical activity during the day even if it’s just a 10-minute walk is a great way to clear your mind and take a break from your computer or work space. But take it one step farther and incorporate regular cardio workouts into your week to boost your stress reduction.

Physical activity is what seems to reap the biggest benefit, especially for those who may have turned to alcohol or drugs to help cope with work stress. 

Setting a regular time for a run or to go to the gym can make the biggest difference if you’re feeling burned out at work or overwhelmed with work demands.

3. Get good quality sleep.

Most adults need seven to nine hours of quality sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends turning off or putting away electronic devices (including your cell phone) an hour before you go to bed to help your body calm down for sleep.

4. Make time for leisure activities or hobbies.

Doing things you enjoy can lower stress levels and help you feel better.

That doesn’t have to mean hang gliding or mountain climbing. Even simple things like gardening, knitting or hiking with your family are beneficial. Travel and spending time with friends and family are things mentioned most often as missed opportunities.

5. Eat for a healthy life.

Eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated and avoiding using substances like alcohol and drugs to deal with stress will help keep your body strong. In the moment you may feel like a takeout pizza, but your body will thank you for a home cooked meal.  

Ready to reduce stress with exercise? Visit and make fitness a part of your plan.