Stress Less Full-Timer - 5 Steps to Reduce Stress

PART 1 OF OUR SERIES: on How to Balance Your Work, life & Fitness

Hey Full-Timers, the first step you need to take on your road to a successful work/life balance is to eliminate work stress. You might be thinking to yourself “that’s impossible”! But it’s actually all a choice. Stress is a mindset that can be overcome with these 5 steps.

First let’s self-diagnose ourselves by taking a look at the symptoms of stress. If you can relate to these points, then you need to work on reducing your stress levels at work.

  • Feelings of anxiety, depression or irritability
  • Feelings of just going through the motions without any drive
  • Sleeping problems
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Daily fatigue
  • Concentration issues
  • Headaches or stomach pains
  • Usage of alcohol or drugs to relax

Step 1: Get Organized

Looking at office mess can enhance feelings of stress. So the first step is to get organized. Start by cleaning up your desk and putting everything in its place. Allocate 1-2 times per day where you sort through your emails, mail, files and due dates. Don’t check on them every 15 minutes.
Then stay organized by keeping a diary, setting reminders and having a calendar.

Pro Tip: At Nutrition Souq, we use an app called Wunderlist to keep ourselves organized. Find what works for you and stick to a program.

Step 2: Set Realistic Goals

Sometimes we can fall into the trap of being too ambitious and setting goals that are just too high to reach. Then when we don’t reach our goal we can become very disappointed in ourselves. So learn to set realist goals that can be achieved and that will help you reach your ultimate goal.

Using SMART goals can be a good start. SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Pro Tip: Use realistic SMART goals to help reduce your stress levels, get more done and feel better about yourself

Step 3: Learn To Say No

Learn to say no and when to ask for help. If someone at work is asking you to do extra work that you really don’t have time to do, say no. Once you stop saying yes to all this extra work, you will be able to concentrate on the things that are overwhelming you. The converse side of knowing when to say NO is learning when to ask for help. Most workplaces are understanding, so don’t be afraid to ask for time off, less work or extra help on a project.

Here are three ways you can say NO (from About Health):

  • “I’m sorry. I can't do this right now.” - Use a sympathetic, but firm tone. If pressured as to why, reply that it doesn’t fit with your schedule, and change the subject.
  • “Let me think about it and get back to you.” - Use this if you’re uncomfortable being so firm, or are dealing with pushy people
  • “I can’t do this, but I can…” - and mention a lesser commitment that you can make. Use this if you would really like to do what they’re requesting, but don’t have the time

Step 4: Exercise Outdoors

Fresh air and being among nature is a terrific relaxant and stress reliever. Spend your lunch breaks outdoors, going for a walk and after work spend 30mins exercising outdoors. Fresh air will help reduce stress and keep the mind clear.

"Exercise is the most underutilized antidepressant"

Step 5: Avoid Interruptions

People are hassling, the phone is ringing, the emails are pouring and the files are piling up. There are many interruptions in the work place but you can’t let them take up your time. Be more productive by ignoring the distractions and sticking to your work. Staying on top of your work will in turn reduce your stress levels.

A couple of great ways to do this:

  • Listen to music: Plug in your headphones and listen to your favorite music. Studies have proven productivity can increase by up to 25% when listening to music at work.
  • Put your phone on silent: Simple yet affective way to get an hour of un-interrupted time.
  • Alert people that you are in a ‘focus zone’: Notify colleagues and management that you have certain times during the day where you will be focusing on projects and will not be available for meetings or last minute requests.

QUESTIONS: What do you do to avoid interruptions?
Add a comment below

Now we have armed you with 5 ways to combat work stress, you’re ready for Step 2 – learning how to ‘Create more time’ in your day. Stay tuned!


Author: Claire Trojkovic
Author Bio: Claire is a personal trainer from Australia and one of the top Nutrition Souq editors. She’s a fitness and travel expert with a degree in Literature and a Certificate 4 in Fitness and Nutrition. Her particular interests are yoga, bodybuilding, diets, weight loss, herbal remedies and travel. She also manages and writes on her own blog and has written guest articles for various online fitness publications.