Personal Finance

How to stop stressing about work outside of work

Given we spend most of our time at work, it can be difficult to switch off at the end of the day, especially as it's our main source of income. Here are some top tips to leave work at the office when you're at home for better well-being.

The 9 to 5 life sounds simple enough but can in fact be full of stresses. If you are self employed, you might find yourself working even longer hours, also leading to stress and feeling as if you cannot shut off from work.

Talking about stress, The Mayo Clinic said: "Stress is an automatic physical, mental and emotional response to a challenging event.

"It's a normal part of everyone's life.

"When used positively, stress can lead to growth, action and change.

"But negative, long-term stress can lessen your quality of life."

We all need rest at the end of the day to be able rejuvenate for the next working day. If you find yourself feeling stressed from work, unable to stop thinking about the days events, here are some tips to help.

Identify the issues playing on your mind

Everyone has faced stressful or difficult situations at work some time within their careers. When it starts to affect your time outside of work and you cannot switch off, then it's clear something needs to change.

You should start by identifying the issues that are leaving you feeling stressed, writing them down and creating a plan of action.

Accept your limitations

Humans need to eat, sleep and rest each day to be at their best. If we are facing a particularly stressful time at work, it's easy to let these basic needs slide. Therefore, you need to know when it's time to close the laptop, stop checking for notifications and simply switch off.

To do this, you should try whenever possible to leave your work at the office. If there is not a clear distinction between your professional and home life, this can leave you feeling even more stressed. Therefore, you should make sure you are as productive as possible during the day to get all your tasks done so that you can truly relax in the evenings. You'll actually be more productive at work the next day if you've allowed yourself time to shut off and recuperate.

Communicate more at work

Nobody likes admitting weakness at work, but in actual fact looking to resolve stressful situations is anything but. After all, employees are there to get the work done and if is something is preventing that from happening, you boss will want to know so it can be resolved.

You should write down your points on a piece of paper or in an email and ask to have a meeting to discuss the issues. If it's a group effort, why not hold a meeting to delegate tasks to ensure a project is delivered, or similar issues are resolved? Grabbing a coffee with colleagues can be a great way to start a conversation.

More often that not, stressful work situations can be successfully resolved by communication. Follow this up by setting goals to achieve each day and make sure both your colleagues and your boss, or employees if you are the employer, are all on the same page.

Get to the gym

A great way to shut off after a busy day at the office is to get some exercise in. The NHS recommends adults aged between 19 and 64 do "at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week". In addition they advise people do "strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)."

A burst of cardio can be excellent in reducing stress and racing thoughts about what might have happened at work today. It will also boost endorphins leaving you in a positive frame of mind, ready to wind down for the evening. Some also try exercise in the morning to keep them motivated and focused for the day ahead.

Either way, you need to make sure your physical health doesn't get cast aside as this can soon affect mental health too, leaving us feeling stressed, anxious or depressed. Exercising at least 2-3 times a week can be a great way to rid yourself of workplace worries, whilst keeping your body fit and strong too (e.g., by improving cardiovascular health).

Get sociable

Having sociable time with friends and family and even clubs and societies can help you switch off and leave work behind. This is because at work—particularly in an office environment—we are enclosed with the same people all day long, sometimes under very stressful circumstances. In order to switch off, we need to leave this behind and mix with different people when the day is over, or on weekends.

Mixing with people who are not from work will also help you develop a different perspective on issues which are leaving you feeling stressed at work, without the bias that may come from colleagues. It can help you see situations with a fresh pair of eyes to decide how to deal with what you are facing.

You could even try a group fitness class to help you keep healthy at the same time as making new friends (or even a fitness holiday for your next annual leave).

Have a good bed time routine

Sleep is imperative to our overall health and wellbeing, but understandably work issues can leave us feeling like we can't switch off at night. It's advisable to leave screens out of the bedroom and rely on a traditional alarm clock instead. After all, how easy is it to check the time in the middle of the night and have a quick scan of social media too?

The HuffPost said: "Screen time at night keeps adults from falling asleep and sleeping well due to cognitive stimulation and sleep deprivation.

"Your brain's electrical activity increases, neurons race and divert you from calming down into a peaceful state of mind for sleep."

They added: "At least two-thirds of those people who watched TV in the hour before bed didn't get a good night's sleep on work nights."

As well as avoiding screens before bed, you should also look to fall asleep at the same time each night so your body is in a regular sleep pattern. You may also want to try taking a bath before bed time and applying some lavender oil to your pillow to help you a achieve a deep, restful sleep ready for a productive day of work the next morning.

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