Few things can derail work productivity faster than stress. And few years have been more stressful than 2020 thanks to a confluence of a global pandemic, the election and greater-than-ever uncertainty about the future.
Many of us are working from home, a mixture of good and bad. While it’s nice to skip the daily commute, people with children are often having to play dual roles of parent and teacher. Unemployment continues climbing, leaving our nation’s workers stressed out.
Fortunately, there are actions we can take to combat stress. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when you feel as if the walls are closing in:
Take a news break
“Doomscrolling” is the ominous term that describes constantly checking social media in search of the latest bad news. To add even more stress, the 24-hour news cycle enables cable networks to constantly harp on negative stories and, sometimes, churn out content that’s dubious at best. But guess what? You don’t have to participate. Yes, you need to stay informed. It just doesn’t do much good to wallow in things over which you have no control. Consider changing the channel more often or avoiding social media for a day. You’ll feel the stress melting away.
Just as when you can tell you’re coming down with a cold, you can also see when reality is becoming too tough to handle. Try to stay ahead of stress by participating in a favorite activity: yoga, going for a run, sipping a warm cup of tea … whatever it takes. Also, be mindful of whether you are a morning or afternoon person and plan your schedule around it if you can.
Don’t take on too much
We all want to be good teammates and that’s a great attitude. Filling in for sick or vacationing co-workers proves your value to the organization. You can also hope your teammates do the same when you’re out of the office. When we say “don’t take on too much,” we’re referring to those well-meaning people who volunteer to help on multiple projects at the same time. Research has shown that multitasking, while it might sound good, can have negative impacts, including a drastic drop in productivity.
Stress is unavoidable in the workplace but it can be controlled. Follow these tips to keep stress down and productivity on the rise. You’ll be happy at work and home, even if both are one and the same these days.
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