In the Netherlands, as many as 1 out of 8 employees suffer from work stress. Enough to dedicate a real week: the Week of Work Stress emphasises the importance of balance this year. Something that might be even harder to find in times of corona. That‘s why five useful tips to help you with this.
1. Take care of work stress prevention
First of all, it is good to know that a certain level of stress is good for you. This ensures that we are alert; this is how we increase our productivity. It only gets annoying when you experience too much stress. The consequence: worrying. Often not even about existing situations: your mind does not distinguish between a real or imaginary situation. Too much thinking about stressful situations gives you the same amount of stress.
To avoid that, you can do several things. “Sleeping works best to recover from stress” says Dennis Karakoç, director/director of the StresCentrum Foundation. “But also undertake activities that do not necessarily lead to a goal, but only resist your thoughts”.
2. Prioritize prioritising
you provide overview and tranquility in your head. After all, you focus your attention. Not only do you decide what is important, it also helps not to want to do several things at once.
Karakoç: “In case of stress, we often see people lose the overview; your attention turns in all directions, you panic, causing a feeling of powerlessness.” So: map what to do, determine what’s most important and finish your list step-by-step.
3. Plan private activities in
There is the balance: in this case between work and private. Especially in times of corona this fades. Work costs energy. You can replenish it by relaxing. Yes, private activities also cost energy, but body and mind react differently to that. Karakoç: “Your body is a stimulus treatment system that takes time to process stress stimuli. If you have experienced stress for a day working behind a laptop, relaxation through a device will not work properly.” In other words, relaxing will then succeed best by doing something completely different.
4. Take breaks in which you move
Even if you work at home you are entitled to a break, so take it too. And move: that has a positive effect on stress. This has to do with, among other things, the hippocampus: an important part of the brain that is stimulated during movement to inhibit the production of the stress hormone cortisol. At the same time, important, good substances such as endorphins are produced.
As is known: half an hour of movement like walking is already enough. Especially if it is in nature: that can even bring the brain to a meditating state. By moving for a while and moving your thoughts, you unload and get new energy.
5. Make a good schedule and stick
to it. Make a schedule at the beginning of the week or day and follow it. With the advent of corona, the separation between work and private life has become somewhat blurred. Some people are suddenly less time-bound because of working from home. This gives space to be able to do other things in between, but it can also mean that it is easier to decide to continue working for an hour longer. Literally cross items off your schedule or to-do list. This provides overview and control, improves productivity and thus prevents stress.