Almost half of all Aussies rate work as their main source of stress. Here’s how to get your job woes under control in just 30 minutes a day…
Had the day from hell in the salon? You’re not alone. A recent study by the Australian Psychological Society found 44 per cent of Aussies rate issues at work as their main source of stress.
Contrary to popular opinion, in small amounts, stress can actually be a good thing. It can help us work to a tight deadline, perform at our peak, and get the job done.
But in large amounts, stress can be toxic. Chronic, elevated stress hormone levels – otherwise known as cortisol – can make you forgetful, anxious, unable to cope with regular daily tasks and have a variety of health implications including hypertension, fatigue, impaired digestion, headaches, thyroid dysfunction and more.
However, with the right techniques, it is possible to reverse the damaging effects of stress and get back in control again, and you can do it in as little as 30 minutes on your lunch break. Here’s six quick ways to bid work stress adieu.
1. Get moving
Exercise releases endorphins – feelgood hormones shown to reduce stress levels. So grab your joggers and get moving in your lunch break. But be warned – high intensity aerobic exercise can actually raise cortisol levels, so it’s best to focus on moderate to low intensity activities like walking, yoga or dancing.
In a recent study on stress reduction, two groups of people spent their lunch breaks getting outside – one group walking in the city and the other in nature. Both groups showed reduced cortisol levels afterwards, with the group who got out in nature having the most dramatic reduction. So head to your local park or the nearest grassy spot with your sushi next lunch break for some R&R.
3. Nap it up
Regular siestas are a part of many cultural work practices around the world for good reason. A NASA study of astronauts found a 40 minute nap improved performance by 34 per cent and alertness by a hundred per cent. Even a 15 minute nap has been found to have serious benefits, including stress reduction. Ask your boss about implementing a nap time policy and using your break room to grab some quick shut eye, using the health benefits to bolster your case.
Get out of the salon, find a quiet spot on your own, pop your earphones in and put on a meditation track (there are plenty available on iTunes for under $2). Just 10 minutes of meditating can have a powerful cortisol lowering affect, allowing you to return to work more relaxed, and ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead.
5. Relax, just do it
Working in a salon comes with its perks, including discounted treatments, so use your privileges to arrange a monthly (or if you can afford it, fortnightly) massage on your day off. You’ll be surprised at just how level-headed you return to work the next day. As every beauty therapist knows, massage has been shown to ease tension, reduce cortisol and promote a general feeling of wellness, so take some of your own medicine and get familiar with the massage table.
6. Take control
Research has found one of the biggest causes of work related stress is a feeling of not being in control. Lack of control over a situation can often induce great anxiety and nervous tension. Simply deliberately planning out what you’re going to do for the day is an easy way to increase your sense of control, and it’s a method that’s been shown to be highly effective at reducing stress and making you feel less overwhelmed. A to-do list or daily schedule, written out at the start of each day, is a great way to get back on top.
Have your say: What is your biggest source of stress at work?