Stress. Everybody has it, and sometimes we struggle to deal with it. But ignoring stress is never a good idea. Chronic stress is associated with a plethora of health problems, including headaches and stomachaches, depression, poor heart health, a weakened immune system, tense muscles, and reproductive health problems.
Unfortunately, stress can’t always be avoided, particularly if it’s work-related. Work is often cited as the top source of stress. And every job involves some stress – some more than others! The good news? There are things you can do to manage your stress, and to keep all those health risks at a minimum.
Here is what experts recommend to manage your stress:
- Track stress points. While we can’t avoid spending 40+ hours of our week at work, we can potentially identify behaviors and triggers that are more easily addressed. For example, certain days or meetings may carry more stress than others. If you can identify these, you can build a relaxing routine around these triggers to make them less painful. Just make sure you address triggers the right way! A five minute walk or a tea break, for example, is much healthier than a large candy bar.
- Watch out for “calls from inside the house.” For many of us, a great source of stress comes from within. Holding ourselves to an impossible standard and falling victim to a stream of negative thoughts will not do us any favors. It’s important to be aware of this potential internal criticism, and to find a way to manage it. Maybe you’ll make a list of accomplishments to remind you of your hard work. Maybe you’ll write out your worst thoughts so you can see them on paper and symbolically throw them out. Or maybe you’ll develop a plan of action to address a genuine problem that is bothering you. Do what works for you!
- Create boundaries and unwind. A major source of stress these days is constantly being plugged into work via a phone or computer. At a certain point, however, it’s time to just say no. Give yourself permission to enjoy things in your personal life. Then turn off notifications and log off! Being able to unplug from work is a great way to create balance in your life: to recharge, to reduce stress, and to focus on you as a person – not just you as an employee.
- Take a deep breath. It sounds silly, but slowing down to take a breath and refocus is very calming. There’s a reason yoga has become so popular – because deep breathing and mindfulness really work! You’ll want to balance these brief minutes of breathing, however, with the following:
- Take a break. Taking a 10 minute “recovery” break after 90 minutes of work is connected to lower stress and better productivity. Plus, it can help you address another physical issue that often affects us at work – eye strain. “Eye strain” refers to when our overworked eyes begin to exhibit symptoms as a result. Dry eyes, tired eyes, sore eyes, and even headaches and sore muscles can all be symptoms of eye strain. Granted, eye strain and stress aren’t directly connected – it’s more that they work in tandem to make our day harder. But work breaks can reduce stress and eye strain alike – making your day easier to manage all around!
So, what next? Well:
- You can read more about stress management if you’re interested in more tips for addressing stress. You can learn more about work breaks and addressing eye strain on our very own blog.
- If you’re curious about eye strain itself, we’ve got you covered with this blog post!
- And finally, you can browse our shop if interested in purchasing eye strain glasses that will make your eyes more comfortable and help to further address the vision symptoms that a stressful day can inflame.