According to the University of Cambridge, approximately half a million UK workers believe the amount of stress they face in the office is making them ill. Alongside this, up to 5 million people feel ‘very’ or ‘extremely stressed’ due to their work. With stress being a major factor in the development of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, it’s important that we feel we have the tools to remain in control, whether that be at home or in the office.

When the workplace gets too stressful, we often lose concentration and our worries begin to severely impact our productivity. During these moments, taking a step back to reassess the situation and finding positive solutions are key. At Hear and Now we want to help you handle stress, here are 5 easy ways to help you try and beat back the tide of workplace stress.

Take regular breaks

The working day can be taxing upon us all. Whether it’s staring at a screen for 8 hours, crushing workloads or a consistent stream of meetings, office life can swiftly become very stressful.  What’s important is to recognise early signs of stress and then to make sure you allow yourself to take short breaks throughout the working day.

Bupa recommend 5 to 10 minute breaks every hour, focusing on something else besides work. Alongside this, they suggest workers utilise their full lunch break to disconnect from work. These breaks can offer a chance to recuperate, breathe and discover new perspectives on the tasks at hand:

“So, next time you’re feeling stressed, tired or unable to concentrate at your desk, take a break. Even getting up to make a cup of tea or talking to a colleague for a few minutes can do you the world of good. Your health in the workplace is equally as important as your health outside of work, and mini breaks play an important role in this.”

Set time aside for emails

Sometimes the sheer amount of emails we receive on a daily basis can become overwhelming, with one study suggesting that the average professional sends and receives around 122 emails a day.

Naturally we want to promptly reply to these emails and keep on top of our inboxes, even if it means we lose momentum on the task at hand. However, losing our train of thought impacts our work, productivity and focus. By setting time aside for emails, whether it be the beginning of the day, just before lunch or at the end of the day, you’re ensuring you don’t miss out on any crucial, time-sensitive emails, and that it also does not interfere with your train of thought. While being reactive may seem like the best way to handle emails, a more proactive approach will allow you to manage your time more effectively.

Find your perfect playlist

Music stimulates our brains and finding the right playlist can help us focus when we need it most.

Our brains have two different attention systems: a conscious one which helps us focus on what we want to concentrate on and an unconscious one which shifts our attention to anything our senses suddenly pick up, a glass smashing for instance. While it’s almost impossible to turn off the unconscious attention system, music can offer a way to nullify its ability to distract us. With non-invasive, pleasing sounds we can remain focused on the task at hand.

Finding the right music to suit you is down to individual tastes. Our office has a variety of different playlists. Rosa, our Chief Product Officer loves Peaceful Piano and Lizzy, our Product Experience Manager is often found on Spotify’s Stress Buster playlist

Stop Multitasking

We often believe that if we’re multitasking we’re being more efficient, as working on multiple tasks and projects at the same time can only increase our output or quality of work right?

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and psychologists have found that trying to multitask can lead to a loss of time and productivity. By dividing your attention between two different complex tasks, you’re not truly focusing on one and this can lead to more mistakes and potential problems with your work.

If your to-do list begins to stress you out, trying to finish as many things as possible often seems like the most proactive way to approach it. However, this frequently isn’t the most effective way. Organising a structured plan allows you to take on one task at a time, preventing you from being overwhelmed with work related stress.

Breathe

While it may seem like an obvious option for us to suggest, there’s some great science behind the breathing methods used to help regain control and provide calm in stressful times. We’re excited to show you how this technique allows you to take control of those stressful moments to achieve a new perspective on the scenario.

Breathe

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