How to Handle Stress During the Workday

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How to Handle Stress During the Workday

by Sam Vander Wielen

Hi, there! I’m Sam. As an attorney-turned-Certified Health Coach and entrepreneur, I know a thing or two about stress. I had to learn the hard way how to manage my stress both in and out of the office.

Managing stress in a healthy way is not just about learning how to react to stress when it happens. It’s about preventing and managing it, too. Here are 7 ways you can better manage and prevent stress during your workday.

Move more

Fit in movement where ever you can to your day to get your blood flowing and ease tension from sitting. You can easily stretch in your office (I’ve even stretched in the stairwell or bathroom before!) or outside.

If you can, take a break to get some air and movement, too. You could walk around the outside of your office building, the block, or even the parking lot.

I’ve also been known to use my office desk and chair for a mini-workout. You can do incline pushups and dips using your desk, and squats using your chair. Do a few push-ups on the floor or a 60-second plank to get the heart pumping.

Split your lunch hour

This is something I always recommend to my clients! If you have 1-hour to spend on lunch (or, if you work from home or for yourself- pencil in 1 hour), split it in half, 30-30. Spend 30 minutes enjoying your lunch and 30 minutes doing something restorative like walking, listening to music or a Podcast, journaling, or chatting with a friend.

stress at work

Find ways to relax

Now I know we can’t all turn our offices into spas, but there are so many little things we can do to create a healthier environment while we work. You can…

  • Add a plant
  • Turn on some soothing tunes (I use Spotify!)
  • Decorate with pictures of some of your favorite travel mementos
  • Practice deep-breathing at your desk or in your car

Even if you work from home, there are things you can do to make your space a relaxing one. Take a look around and see what you can do to make the space warm, inviting, relaxing, and clear of clutter.

Set your Intentions

Another way to manage your work-stress is to practice intention-setting in the morning. I like to do this sometime during my morning routine or morning coffee time (because that’s when I’m super relaxed). Picture yourself and your day. Picture how you want to feel, act, REact, and handle your work stress. Picture how you want to feel at the end of the day. When you feel out of balance during your work day, go back to these visions and let them anchor you.

Recharge your batteries

Now that you spend time during your morning routine setting your intentions for the day, we need to figure out how to recharge after work. You probably recharge your iPhone each night, right? So how often do you refill your body, mind, and soul? Probably not as often as your phone.

We’re all guilty of it. Life happens. Maybe we can’t completely recharge each and every night. But I like to think of ourselves as “tanks”. Tanks which ebb and flow with energy. Although they still function at any level, they just function a little bit less than optimally if we don’t bring them back up to “full” from time-to-time.

So what can you do to recharge your batteries? Well, that’s really something you have to answer. I help my clients find out exactly what recharges them and how they can practice it often. In short, it’s a lot of trial and error. You have to figure out what makes you feel better and learn how to fit more of that in your life. Take a look at the last month of your life. What are some experiences you’ve had that filled you up? Which ones depleted you? Spend more time on those experiences that filled you up, and less on those that depleted you. It really is that simple.

If the experience that filled you up isn’t something you can do often (like traveling to Thailand), think of WHY it filled you up. Did you try something new? Were you with someone who always makes you feel better? Did you feel adventurous and carefree? Think of ways you can recreate those experiences (and subsequently those feelings) in your life as it is now.

Fuel your body

Treat your body like a professional athlete. If you want to perform at optimal levels (great energy, skin, hair, etc.), you have to treat your body that way. If you’re already stressed, sugar and processed carbs are only going to make it worse. You may feel temporarily better, but in the long run it doesn’t help.

You’re better off focusing on eating lots of plants, whole grains, plenty of healthy fats, and good, strong coffee ; )

stress at work

Detox your mind

If you feel like you’re doing so many of the things I talked about so far but you’re still feeling stressed & frazzled, take a look at what you see and hear everyday.

What do your social media feeds look like? Are they filled with things that inspire you? Or are you left feeling disconnected and down every time you scroll through Facebook?

Who do you hang out with? Do they support you and understand who you really are? Or do they make you feel judged and uncomfortable?

What do you listen to? Inspiring Podcasts or music that you love? Or Reality TV shows that show less-than-America’s best?

What you SEE and what you HEAR each day absolutely effects you. 

I hope that these tips were helpful to you. I strongly encourage you to think “big picture” and look at your life as a whole. When you do, you’ll realize that you need a healthy balance of each of these components to live a healthy, happy life. Thanks for reading!

Sam Vander Wielen

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