Ah, working from home! How much easier this makes things! No need to factor in extra time for the home-work commute, and now that you have more time, you’ll be able to get more work done! You can work at your own pace- no need to stress about running into your boss! And, hey, no need to worry about what to eat for lunch! You might even save some extra cash! Except…
It’s now a week later, and there seems to be more work piling up, you’re working overtime nearly every day, despite having more time to focus on work. There’s barely enough time to get things done at home AND at work, and forget not having to run into your boss- they’re calling/ emailing/ messaging you every other hour! Talk about stress!
Stressful situations often trigger our panic reflex, what’s known as our ‘fight or flight’ mode. Sometimes, our brains opt for the ‘fight’ option, which is when we have those extra productive days; you know, the ones where it feels like, we know that when dealing with stressful situations (such as the one’s listed above), the pressure can get to you- and it can be tempting to, say, curl up like a hedgehog and hide under your blanket. Instead of that, here are a few less drastic suggestions we’ve compiled for you to try out when the pressure builds up at work.
1. Take a Deep Breath
Underwhelming? We know! But seriously, it helps. When you start feeling overwhelmed by everything, sometimes the best thing you can do is to stop and take a deep breath. Taking a slow, deep breath can trigger the body into relaxing, and to stop releasing stress hormones. By concentrating on your breathing, you also give your brain a break. Focusing on your breathing temporarily distracts your brain from the issues currently bothering you, giving your brain (and you, by extension), the chance to calm down and regain focus on your work.
2. Get Plenty of Sleep
This probably seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important! Stress and insomnia can often make it difficult to fall asleep, leading to a worsening mood because of your lack of sleep the next day, and the added stress from this unfortunately ensures that the cycle continues. The lack of separation from travelling to and from work often blurs the line further, leaving us feeling as if we’re permanently at work, adding on to the bundle of stress we already have. Make getting adequate sleep a priority. Set aside time to wind down and stay away from electronic devices, until you wake up in the morning. You can also utilise aromatherapy. Scents like lavender and bergamot can help promote mental calmness and help you sleep better!
3. Take a Walk
When working from home, we tend to find ourselves sitting at our desks for most of the day, besides the few moments we break away to tend to domestic issues. One of the best ways of coping with the stress from that is by taking a walk. Even a short walk around your garden, living room or hall can help in keeping stress at bay. Exercise, for however brief a period, helps in releasing feel-good hormones to counter stress and also assists in clearing the mind. Take a brisk five-minute walk when you start feeling overwhelmed. Your brain will thank you for the change of scenery and the breath of fresh air. (Disclaimer: This is not encouragement to walk out midway through that important work meeting. Schedule the walk for before or after it.)
Meditation has long been a popular method of stress reduction, and has been proven to be an extremely effective one. You don’t need a full blown yoga session. Just a few minutes of sitting quietly and relaxing your mind is considered highly beneficial to the brain, and is more than enough to give you a boost!
5. Practice Gratitude
We know there are times when this is easier said than done (especially when you have multiple deadlines, multiple pending chores AND your boss looming over your shoulder.) However, taking a few minutes just to acknowledge what you do have in life, however small, can often help put things in perspective, and can make major issues seem much less of an issue. Try noting down (either mentally or in writing) at least 5 simple things in your life that you’re grateful for (your family, your pets, your friends, your hobbies, etc.). You could even be grateful for your favourite food, just as long as it’s something positive.
We understand that at times, things can get crazy, and that can add on to our stress, especially when we already feel like our plate’s been overloaded. With these strategies, we hope that we can make that burden a little lighter, at the very least, for you.
Stay safe everyone!