I have a confession to make. I just might be a workaholic. And the weird thing is, I’m strangely proud of it.
We wear it like a badge of honour, don’t we? Telling anyone who will listen how busy we are, even as we drown in a constant flood of work emails, texts and phone calls. We bask in how it makes us feel important and productive.
But there is a dark side to this new fashionable cult of ‘busy’
Technology-driven work environments, Smartphones, and the internet now keep us constantly plugged into the matrix, never giving us a chance to disconnect or recharge.
As a result, stress, anxiety and mental health issues are on the rise, quietly creeping up on us and putting our wellbeing at risk. Left unchecked, we could be facing a major mental health crisis sooner than we think.
The modern workplace is an especially high-stress environment.
There are things we can do to minimise its effects on us
As the founder of a Australian company that specialises in complete corporate wellbeing, I’ve helped hundreds of corporate employees manage workplace stress. Here are my five top tips that you can implement in your life today to help you manage stress and build up your mental resilience.
Practice Mindfulness to Keep You Sane
We all lead extremely busy lives, constantly being pulled in a million different directions at once. It’s important to find balance, because the day-to-day stresses of leading a busy life can catch up with us. The inner game will always lead to a happy outer game.
One way to help manage the stress of a hectic lifestyle is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surroundings. It takes constant practice, but it helps me maintain focus and compassion for myself and others every day.
Practicing mindfulness also requires acceptance of paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judgement. There is no right or wrong way to think or feel at any given moment. Like all things, the more you practice, the deeper the results.
For me, it has been life-changing in my work and home life. I’ve built stronger relationships, and I’m enjoying life in the present moment. If I ever feel that my to-do list is building up and I’m feeling overwhelmed, the first thing I do is stop and meditate. It naturally clears any feeling of stress, overwhelm and headaches.
It is so rewarding to see so many people participating in our mindfulness programs and improving their quality of life. We see amazing results, both at work and home, from simple mindful techniques and practice. Having the initial education helps tremendously for developing an understanding of the basics and the science behind the practice.
The key is to learn how to drop into the stillness and be aware of your mind wandering. It’s simple magic once learnt!
Multitasking actually reduces your productivity, increases your stress levels, and makes you feel over fatigued. The problem with trying to multitask is all that shifting back and forth between tasks is inefficient, because each time we do it, it takes our brain some time to refocus.
It reduces your ability to concentrate and is bad practice for your brain. So while it might seem efficient on the surface, it isn’t. Studies from Forbes show that multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40%.
Rather than completing fifty tasks poorly all at once, focus on completing a few tasks extraordinarily well, one at a time. I used to think I was a master at this when I worked in the corporate world, now I realise this is one of the main contributors that nearly burnt me out.
Our body is the only place we have to live in, so it is vitally important that we look after it to avoid pain and injury. If you work at a desk, try to take responsibility for all of that sitting.
Some employers understand the pitfalls of prolonged sitting and provide in-house pilates/yoga classes, but for those that don’t have access to these services, I highly recommend you indulge in these types of sessions.
Yoga and pilates will support the key muscles surrounding your spine and release tight joints. It will also allow you to learn about your body and what you need to do to maintain good posture.
I have my own practice and I’ve been teaching people private 1:2:1 Pilates for many years. The number one comment people say to me once they have started pilates after having back issues or injuries from too much sitting is ‘why did I not practice this sooner!’.
Find a practice that works for you and stick to it.
Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
If you have a big, unhealthy lunch, try to eat well that night. Juice fresh fruit and vegetables as much as possible and eat mostly raw foods.
I find that people can repeatedly be told about the benefits of healthy eating, but until they start to take note on how healthy food will make them feel and the difference in energy they will have, they won’t take note! Be mindful of your energy levels with different foods
It’s simple – healthy food increases energy. Energy provides us with more fuel to do what we love. Choose healthy snacks. Pack fruit and nuts in your bag for the day so you have them ready if you are peckish.
Soak up your natural environment
Working in a corporate job can often mean you’re inside sitting at a desk for long periods. But getting outside and getting sunlight and Vitamin D is important for our health and wellbeing.
Try being outside with nature as much as possible. Opt for walking meetings, go for a walk on your lunch break, and eat outside. You will be surprised at how good it makes you feel, and you’ll start to jump at any opportunity that gets you out of the office.
Choose venues with a natural look and feel for your offsite meetings to increase wellbeing and clearer minds. Go for walks on the weekends and get involved with some outdoor activities.
Use any chance you can to ‘disconnect’ from technology and be present, focusing all your energy on what is happening around you, whether that is in a cafe, on the bus, or sitting in the park. Take note of sights, sounds and smells. The more you practice this, the easier it will become for you to be present regularly.
Introduce natural plants to your home & office space to clean the air and clear your mind.