Kate Swoboda | Contributor | Author, Creator of YourCourageousLife.com
November 7, 2014
When you’re an entrepreneur who truly loves what you do, job stress is tough to handle. Often people think that the only way that things will improve at the office is if something external changes. But, in fact, you have the power to determine how you feel every time you walk through the office door or sit down to check email in the morning.
The critical factor in relaxing more at work? Deciding to follow through on the decision to relax. There’s a tendency for people to talk about how they want to change their life but not follow up on those desires with action.
If you’ve decided that you want to relax more at work, you need to execute your plan — without any excuse. Here are seven ways to make work a more relaxing experience:
1. Use reminders to breathe.
A number of apps help people remember to practice mindfulness. The Zazen Suite app for the iPhone includes a “mindfulness bell” that goes off according to your preference. You can set up a regular interval of reminders, say, every hour or arrange for it to ring at random.
Every time the bell tings, stop and take a long, deep breath. If you don’t want to purchase an app, simply set the timer on your phone and when you get the alert, stop and breathe.
2. Shake up the morning routine.
Perhaps listening to the news during your morning commute leaves you stressed out about all the things going wrong in the world. Switch things up. Start off your mornings with fun music, sing out loud in your car or read a book that’s hard to put down while on public transportation. Make a point of saying hello to the positive people at work early in the day rather than waiting till you run into them.
3. Limit exposure to technology.
Whenever you download a new app, make sure that it doesn’t automatically load and that notifications are silenced. Close out of the email program when you’re not checking it. Don’t use your break time to check social media. You won’t end up feeling really rested and rejuvenated. Going outside for a 10-minute walk in the fresh air will likely leave you feel better.
4. Make a plan for handling difficult co-workers.
Instead of silently resenting and ruminating after each contact with a difficult co-worker, figure out how to handle the situation, then deal with it head-on. Most relationships can be improved by simply having a respectful conversation to work out differences. Life is far too short for you to go to work every day feeling stressed around someone. Do what you can to resolve conflicts.
5. Be realistic about can be accomplished.
Entrepreneurs naturally have a lot of ideas. But you can end up feeling overwhelmed from thinking it’s possible to tackle far more than can actually get done in a day. As soon as those projections aren’t met, tension rises and the inner criticisms begin. Instead, decide that you’ll commit to three top priorities that can reasonably be completed within a day. Being realistic about what you can complete will relieve that overwhelmed feeling.
6. Invite feedback.
If you don’t want to have to put out stressful, last-minute fires, all the leaders of your company must willing to hear feedback from staff about what’s not working and why certain challenges arose. If the culture in the office is such that employees fear approaching anyone because they shouldn’t ask for help, everyone will be under the stress of perfectionism.
The reality is that team members may need guidance while engaged in any step of a project. Adopting an open atmosphere of communication where there are no stupid questions means that the people you’ve hired will be able to function at their best.
7. Invest in people.
There are several ways to nurture your staff. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to hire a yoga instructor to come on-site once a week and lead a companywide class. Encouraging your employees to use their paid time off is likely to leave them feeling more relaxed and better able to function at work.
Making a point of starting off a meeting with an impromptu dance party might seem ridiculous and awkward, but it’s likely to get people laughing and feeling grateful to be part of your team. When you care about how relaxed your people are, they care about coming to work.
Creating a better work experience for all starts at the leadership level. Leaders need to be open about their desire for a workplace environment where laughter in the office is considered a metric of a successful company, alongside profit margins. When you make relaxation a priority for yourself, it creates a ripple effect throughout your business.