Learn to manage it

Amrita Prasad
Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Workplace stress can ruin your health, and also affect your personal and professional life. Entrepreneurs and health experts tell you how to manage stress before it gets out of control

Enter the corporate world and your life is bound to get stressful. The higher you climb the corporate ladder, the higher the stress level. Initially, the body warns us against stress through symptoms like a sudden increase in hair loss, irregular headache, reduction in concentration and productivity, insomnia and in worst scenarios, leads to high blood pressure and weak  immune system. Unless you learn to manage stress, stress can complicate your life.   

It’s necessary to understand that unmanaged stress is a problem which tends to multiply into more problems. According to Pooja Duggal, health coach and founder, Healthhunt, one out of every two employees in corporate India suffers from anxiety and depression. Healthhunt is a content-led marketplace that focuses on the wellness of the mind, body and soul. “This, combined with general ill-health, not only affects an employee’s physical and mental wellbeing, but also impacts the financial health of a company, due to increased absenteeism and low productivity,” she says. 

You need to get to the source of the problem. “Stress can be due to low salary, excessive workload, insufficient growth opportunities, lack of social support or unclear performance expectations,” says Duggal adding that all these are common workplace stressors that need to be addressed in order to reduce it. 

Sudhanshu Rai, chief strategist and founder, Saints Art, a Haryana-based strategic communication firm, believes that stress is an intrinsic part of any working environment and entrepreneurs suffer from this syndrome every other day. To deal with stress, any kind of sport for at least 30 minutes daily acts as a booster for both the body and mind. “Not only this helps relieve one’s overworked active brain but also refuels the brain with active energy by giving the pulse of change needed. Moreover, frequent timeouts of 5-10 minutes for breathing sessions may help avoid excessive stress during work hours,” adds Rai. 

He feels that the best technique to relax is to mediate. Meditation, deep breathing and enjoying daily meals can help melt away stress if done with mindfulness (a state in which we actively observe present experiences and thoughts without judging).

Working continuously to meet critical deadlines can cause stress. Under such circumstances, it is necessary to focus on smaller things that can make a huge difference to you mental and physical wellbeing. “Taking deep and long breaths whenever I feel anxious, drinking a lot of water throughout the day and eating healthy homemade food on time help a lot. I prefer taking the stairs whenever possible. Going for deliberate short breaks like short walks, listening to your favourite music, and communicating with your loved ones can ease your mind of stress,” says Shish Kharesiya, founder, director, and CEO of Bey Bee, a brand specialising in baby and infant products.

Rishu Gandhi, founder and head brand strategy, Mother Sparsh, a brand selling baby products, is on her toes throughout the day. She says that it is easy for her to feel overwhelmed by her packed schedule combined with her unexpected challenges across various fronts — personal and professional. “I start my day  early and spend at least an hour doing yoga asanas, deep breathing and meditation. Exercising in the fresh air reinvigorates me and keeps me in high spirits throughout the day. Post this, I wrap up my routine chores. And then get on with work by prioritising the tasks for the day,” says Gandhi. 

Your fitness level  has a deep connection with leading a stress-free life. Khyati Mahajan, founder and CEO, MevoFit, a fitness brand, says, “A platform like ours not only helps gym enthusiasts or athletes but also assists corporate employees to take care of their mental/ physical well-being despite their busy schedule by providing them with easy fitness solutions through fitness bands and apps. Simple activities like tracking your daily goals keeps you going in the long run, sedentary alerts remind you to move and not stay stationary for longer durations, and reminders ensure that you don’t miss out on anything urgent,” says she. 

Experts share tips on how to beat work stress  

Decaffeinate: Most of us require caffeine to start our day but it isn’t important to consume it after lunch or at regular intervals because caffeine gets the energy and emotions flowing, resulting in increased stress.

Work-life boundary: With the advent of digital age, managing stress has become even more difficult because we are on the job 24x7. That’s why it’s of utmost importance to create work-life boundary, which include not checking mails after work hours and not answering the phone during dinner.

Healthy munchies: Consuming healthy snacks at regular intervals is recommended; it also helps in reducing stress. Snacks that provide a little carbohydrate, protein and a very small amount of fat are best. A few quick and healthy munchies for the workplace can be instant oatmeal packets, dried fruits and nuts, yoghurt with fruit, herb or green tea, dark chocolates, roasted chickpeas, fruits etc.

Break time: Staring at the screen all day long can magnify stress. Lunch time is a must-have break of the day. This break acts as a mental health booster. One should never skip lunch break especially on days when there is too much workload as it helps to re-energise the body.

Workout: Simple exercises like clock and anticlockwise neck rotation, hand and leg stretches and relaxing your muscles can reduce stress. Make sure to set aside time for the things that bring you happiness. 

Laughter is the best medicine: No medicine is as powerful as laughter against stress. One should always find a reason to laugh — whether it’s a two-minute online meme, or laughing with your colleagues. This will always lighten your load.

Eating healthy: Rather than binging on fast food or alcohol, try to go for healthy choices when you feel tensed. 

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