Stress Tips in the Workplace

behavior modification body mechanics creativity efficiency ergonomic healthy habits mindset personal growth productivity stress buster time management workplace yoga Apr 19, 2022

Feeling stressed at your desk or in pain at your computer all day? Want to feel energized, relaxed, and at your best? Follow these simple stress tips in the workplace:

Stress is a natural part of life that has the potential to keep you motivated and help you adapt to change, especially in the workplace. It can be effective in increasing and improving your performance while motivating you to attain your goals and meet daily challenges. In fact, most human successes have been created under stressful conditions, but poorly managed or chronic stress, leading to persistently high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, can result in a runaway feedback loop of destruction to your wellbeing. Cortisol is designed to give us a jolt when it’s necessary to take action in response to a stressor. However, if cortisol is continuously running in the background of your experience throughout the day, every day, it can lead to mental and physical illnesses, sleep disorders, irritability, abnormal fatigue, reduced resistance to infections, headaches, poor concentration, memory impairment, reduced problem solving ability, depression, anxiety, burn out and a host of other undesirable consequences. 

If you are experiencing any of the negative side effects of stress, the good news is that with a shift in perspective and some key, strategic, stress-management practices in place, you can balance out your body’s cortisol production by learning to turn stressful events and circumstances into opportunities for personal growth and achievement. When you learn to meet the challenges of stress in the workplace proactively and use stress as the entry point to increasing efficiency, creativity, and well being, you will start feeling better and better at work.


Start by examining your productivity style. What distractions get in the way and what activities help you focus better? What stress-busters do you already use? What’s working and what’s not working? Identify your stressors and personal stress triggers. Jot these insights down in your specially dedicated notebook or document for this important project. Then design a simple behavior modification plan for yourself using the following components that resonate with you.

Stress Relieving Workspace Tips:


  1. Ergonomic Workspace - When you support your body to perform at its best it allows the mind to work at its best too. Make sure your body has its needs met with appropriate supportive tools so it is less likely to develop tension or repetitive movement strain. Your workspace space should allow you to sit or stand in a neutral position and to establish a good lifted, relaxed posture that requires no stressful angles or excessive reaching to complete tasks. Make sure you are set up so your hands, wrists, and forearms are straight, inline, and parallel to the floor. The head should be level, facing forward with no turn to the left or right, and generally be in line with the torso. Standing at your workstation with these supportive body mechanics is a good alternative to sitting for long periods of time.


  1. Ergonomic Lighting - Get full-spectrum lighting. Fluorescent lighting has been proven to cause burn-out. It has an unhealthy erratic flicker that contributes to producing a frenetic state and it has a limited light spectrum that feels gloomy. It is best if you can position your workspace near a window for natural full-spectrum light from the sun, but if that is not possible buy a full-spectrum bulb or even an incandescent bulb for your desk lamp. If neither is possible and you must work for hours under fluorescent lighting most of the day, just make sure you get outside regularly each day too.


  1. Remove Clutter - Minimizing clutter, externally, creates a feeling of spaciousness that is soothing to the nervous system and results in the spaciousness of your inner world too. It simplifies your work environment, enhances your focus, and distills your work environment down to the most essential.


  1. Organize Your Desk for Best Productivity - Arrange all of your tools and supplies ergonomically and strategically for ease of reach and sequence of events. Make a single place for the most important things and be absolutely disciplined about always putting them back in place. Train yourself to return everything to its proper place promptly so you know where to go for them without the extra struggle.


  1. Plants - Be absolutely surrounded by plants or at least have one plant in your workspace. Besides increasing personal satisfaction, research shows that having plants in the workplace increases concentration and productivity and decreases stress. Hospital patients even get better sooner with plants around. Plants bring more life and beauty to the room and they produce oxygen so we can breathe more deeply.


Stress Relieving Behaviors:


  1. Discipline - Just as you might be disciplined about accomplishing work related tasks, be disciplined about cultivating energizing and uplifting behaviors that benefit your own wellbeing, The accomplishment of tasks will benefit as well when you make your well-being a priority. Ensure that you have a good balance between work and the rest of your life. If you work at home, structure your breaks and honor a clear cut-off time at the end of the day. Honoring a healthy, daily routine will help balance your body’s natural rhythms and make you thrive.


  1. Caffeine - Keep your coffee or caffeine consumption in check. Too much caffeine (and especially coffee due to its extreme acidity) can be very taxing on the adrenals and contributes to fatigue, dehydration, and back pain. Consider using less caffeine or only using caffeine at the most strategic times during the day when your energy dips the most. Consider starting your day with a natural, alternative energy booster such as Blue Green Algae, Spirulina, Reishi, Ginseng, or Maca to name a few.  Natural supplements allow your body to benefit from cultivating energy on its own in the morning instead of developing a dependency on addictive substances such as coffee.


  1. Vitamin and Minerals - Vitamin B12 is the most important nutrient to help your body cope with stress. Vitamin B12 is less available in a vegetarian diet so be sure to take this one if you don’t eat meat. Magnesium helps you relax and is a precursor in the assimilation of many other important stress relieving nutrients. Take magnesium malate or citrate before bed to assist your body’s regenerative processes and feel more rested in the morning.


  1. Time Management - Add an extra five or ten minutes to the front and back of every important event, task, or meeting during the day so you can relax into the activity with spaciousness instead of distress. Establish a different relationship to time by practicing mindfulness. Slow down! Shift from an approach characterized by quantity and speed to one characterized instead by selectivity, spaciousness, and enhanced focus.


  1. Take Movement Breaks - Spending most of the day sitting, without moving, can increase anxiety levels and decrease your body’s natural circulation and energy flow. Structure multiple movement breaks throughout your workday. Set an alarm for each interval of time that makes sense to you considering your personal productivity flow (for example every hour) then just drop everything and get up and move! Put on your favorite song for 3 minutes and boogie down around your desk chair, or your office, or just get up walk around and stretch. Tailor the movement and length of time to your individual needs. Maybe for three minutes you simply walk outside get some fresh air, drink some water, and then return to where you left off. Do this with your office mates and everyone can benefit from it!


  1. Practice Yoga While Working - Use yoga body mechanics at your desk to consciously relieve the burden of stress as you work. Sit up a little taller, let your shoulders relax, and feel into the souls of your feet while gently engaging and connecting them to the ground. Make your breath a little slower, a little fuller and a little deeper. Inhale calm, exhale tension. 


  1. Exercise Daily Outside of Work - Exercise and physical activity reduce stress and release endorphins that make us feel good. Physical activity has direct benefits on brain structure and function. Exercise also improves heart and mental health, thereby reducing levels of depression and anxiety. Even just getting into a habit of going for a walk before or after work will make a huge difference. Also, walking is like a natural chiropractic adjustment on the spine so get out and walk every day if you suffer from back pain!


  1. Mindset - Shift your outlook to seeing challenges as opportunities and fear as a kind of excitement. Practice letting negative attitudes and complaints release to the past as soon as you recognize them. Then, move forward into your future focusing, with each moment, on the positive aspects of your experience. Remember wherever your attention goes energy flows! Seek solutions! Look for the win-win for all involved in any given situation and be the change you want to see in the world.


  1. Fun - Make your work fun! Bring some humor into whatever it is that you do. Be lighthearted and playful. Laughter is a truly healthy coping method. It is the ultimate stress buster and actually reduces levels of cortisol.


Once your stress-reduction behavioral modification plan is in place, get the momentum going by sticking to it for twenty-one days. This way, your new workplace practices will become healthy habits that replace the old behaviors that burn you out so you can thrive.

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