Stress has come to be considered the norm in many societies. However, stress can significantly lower your productivity, causing an inability to concentrate, a lack of decision-making capacity, and increased days off sick. When left unchecked, it can wreak havoc on health and productivity. In fact stress has been associated with physical problems like a weakened immune system, stomach aches, high blood pressure, hair loss, and headaches. Elucidated below are 5 ways that can be used to fight stress and consequently increase productivity.
1. Identifying your stressors
Two huge sources of stress are work-life balance or better still, work-life integration and a lack of control over daily tasks. One effective way to tackle this is planning. As the saying goes “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”.
- Scheduling in advance- Get Prepared the night before; set out your clothes, bag, meal etc. These reduce the number of decisions you have to make in the morning so that you save time and energy for more important tasks.
- Making a list of the work you need to complete can help you stay organized and prevent you from forgetting important tasks. You can also make lists by days, weeks, and months to keep you on track long-term.
- Do not multitask-Take one thing at a time and check them off as you go. Set priorities and do the most important thing first.
- Invest In Technology- Technology should be seen as an extension of ourselves, things like high-speed internet connection, productivity apps, updated tools and gadgets, and reliable software services are important. It would be completely worth it to put in the time and money to have technology that works for you.
- Identify the biggest stress in your life and make an action plan to tackle it. By addressing the problem head on, one is able to reduce the impact of stress.
2. Lifestyle Modification
Be physically active. Exercise is an age-old stress reliever. Doing things like;
- Walking instead of driving. Parking the car a good distance away and walking the final part of the journey (in suitable weather, of course).
- Using the stairs rather than an elevator. The more you move, the healthier you’ll be. Your body works better with more physical activity, which will help your mind work better as well.
- Minimize mindless use of social media- A lot of stress is caused by the constant nature of the digital communication channels we use. Even when attempting to focus on a task, one can be bombarded with notifications from a million different digital platforms. Keeping phones on silent, signing out of email, and shutting down messaging systems allow you to tackle a project with minimum distractions.
- Be intentional with your time and don’t procrastinate.
3. Eat right and hydrate
- Caffeine can be a natural anxiety booster. It gets the energy and emotions flowing and can really increase stress. Consider switching to a nutritious breakfast and healthy snacks and don’t rely solely on coffee to survive until lunch.
- Maintain a balanced diet during meals.
- Drink lots of water, as this is crucial for maintaining mental alertness, and focus and ultimately increasing productivity. Dehydration can stress your organs because you are indirectly starving them. As such, increasing your water intake gives you a healthy life.
4. Take a break
- Many people see the weekend as a getaway from the busy weekdays and an opportunity to party. The weekend could be fun and can be a stress buster as well.
- Reach out to your loved ones to catch up. A kind word from a friend or family can be a very simple stress reliever. You’d be surprised at the amount of stress that stems from a lack of communication. Encouraging communication provides an effective method for voicing frustrations and getting questions answered as well as building and maintaining relationships.
- Consider volunteering. This allows you to meet new people and give back to the community. The simple act of helping others can help provide some perspective. Perspective is one of the greatest stress relievers.
- Finally, set aside a downtime and vacation fund to give yourself a much-needed break.
5. Organize your space
- Stress can be magnified in an unorganized environment. You may not realize it but being in a messy space can suck all the energy out of you. An organized approach to the development of your personal space be it home or office makes daily physical activity more exciting.
- It might seem trivial, but how you decorate your space can actually impact stress. Brighten up the spaces with natural light and colors
- Keep them neat and tidy
- Putting an inspirational quote on the walls, and hearing or reading just the right inspirational quote at just the right time can quickly turn your day around. It can help you fight stress by giving you a new, positive mindset.
Written by Hayatu Oyelowo