Struggling to maintain focus or attention at work?
Hitting that 3 pm low and unable to pull yourself out?
Maybe you are procrastinating by reading this article…
Whatever is going on in your life it’s important to first understand that you are not alone.
Stress is defined by Health Direct as an “expected human response to challenging or dangerous situations.” Small amounts of stress can be supportive to our growth and development, but large amounts of stress can decrease alertness, energy and productivity.
Did you know? Stress releases your ‘fight or flight’ response, which in turn releases adrenaline and cortisol hormones that increase your heart rate, metabolism and breathing.
Some of the signs of stress include:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Tiredness / fatigue
- Changes in appetite
- Headaches, muscle tension, upset stomach
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in mood (irritable or angry)
- Substance abuse/reliance
- Suicidal thoughts or self-harm
Please seek professional advice or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you or someone you know is in crisis.
You have identified yourself or someone you know as being stressed, now what?
There is a range of different techniques and strategies that can help improve your stress levels at work, which in return can help re-motivate you. We have 5 tips for managing stress, however, we do recommend you seek a health professional or complete Health Direct’s online symptom checker to get advice on your best course of action.
Tip #1 | Strategies and Activities
It is important for you to create a strategy so you know exactly what you need assistance with, so you can make these changes and can see progress. Without any clear direction or goals, you can fall back into your bad habits again.
- Start by reassessing your to-do lists – Are you trying to fit 30 hours of work into a day?
- Figure out what things are making you stressed, so you can remove them from your life.
- Get support and find inventive ways to overcome the things which make you stressed.
Find an activity you can complete when you are feeling stressed, this can help you to stop, calm down, refocus and revaluate the situation. Whether you are doing mindfulness activities to help you rethink your emotions, or find a physical activity you can do which will help in that given situation.
Lumosity is an online game developed by neuroscientists which aims to empower individuals to live better and brighter lives. It starts by testing your attention, flexibility and maths skills to then provide you with insights
Tip #2 | Meditation and Relaxation
Meditation is explained by Healthline as being “the habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.”
By meditating you can increase awareness of yourself and what’s happening around you, which can help you to reduce stress, create healthier habits and have a more positive outlook on life. Taking the time to stop and rewind is extremely important, especially as we are moving a million miles a minute.
There are a variety of different ways you can meditate or relax, you just need to find what works for you. For more information on the types of meditation read the Healthline article here.
You can also relax at work by going outside for some fresh air, giving your hands or body a massage (or use a roller), relaxing your muscles, stepping away from your computer and have some undisturbed alone time in a quiet space, take deep breaths or listen to some calming music or sounds. Remember to slow down and take time for yourself, as work cannot be done if you are not well or in the mental headspace to complete it.
Tip #3 | Health and Fitness
Your physical health and fitness is so important, as exercise is linked to mood enhancement and the blood pumped into your brain helps you to think more clearly. This in return can increase the part of the brain which is responsible for memory and helps protect you against injury and diesease.
The Australian Guidelines recommends 30 minutes of moderate to intensive physical activity throughout the day. It is also important that during this time you practice mindfulness and choose activities that you enjoy to keep you motivated. By combining exercise with a healthy diet you will gain more energy throughout the day, increasing focus, attentuion and productivity at work.
Looking for an exercise that you can enjoy and fit into your daily routine? Try one of the following:
- Registering for a walking / running / fitness fundraiser
- Join a local walking group
- Take the dog for a walk
- Join a dance class
There are lots of ways we can make small adjustments into our lives to improve our health and fitness. This includes taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking to work, ‘deskercise’ (this can be a fun team exercise), stretching and standing up from your desk for at least 1 minute every hour.
Tip #4 | Find Your Happy
Whether you keep a journal or a mental log of every time you feel happy, then think about what exactly made you feel that way in the moment. This can help you to create purpose and give you more control over your own emotions. This is also a process of trial and error, if you try something to make you feel happier and it didn’t work then pick yourself up and try something else.
It is also important to remain grateful and find positives in your day even when you are feeling down. Start by writing down 3 things you are grateful for in your day, and this can also be used to turn your negatives into positives.
For example, you are informed by your manager that a new policy is going to be enforced which means that the project you are working on now needs to be reworked and changed. You are thankful for the opportunity to review your work and improve it to a higher standard. If you can change your mindset to see things in a more positive light then your negative thoughts will disappear and you will be happier for it.
Remember there are people around you that can help you to find your happy, you are not in this alone.
Tip #5 | Keep Informed and Stay Connected
The world is changing and we know it! But it’s more important than ever for us to keep learning and maintain social connections with others.
Ways you can keep informed and stay connected includes:
- Reading articles / blogs
- Listening to podcasts
- Attend an online or in-person training
- Attend a workshop or event
- Join online chat groups
- Join local / work social groups
If you want to meet new people in the industry, get discounted training to stay informed and up to date in your career, then register for an IPAA SA Membership here.
Health Direct 2019, Stress, Health Direct, viewed 7 October 2021, <https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/stress>.
Health Direct 2019, Exercise and Mental Health, viewed 14 October 2021, <https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/exercise-and-mental-health>.
Very Well Mind 2021 Effective Stress Relievers for Your Life, viewed 14 October 2021, <https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-to-reduce-stress-3145195>.
Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash