Work rush is now part of our routine. We make calls from nine to five without proper breaks, attend numerous business meetings, and are torn between deadlines and personal life affairs. Your career may flourish with such a lifestyle, but what about your mental health? The facts are pretty disappointing — every third person in the world is facing some kind of stress, with more than 80% of stressed professionals.
No wonder anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders are common among working people. Their high responsibilities and working pace are incompatible with a peaceful mind. Then how can you get rid of a constant tension, and start enjoying your work and life when you're always busy?
Why is it essential to relieve stress when you have a busy schedule?
Imagine the situation when you have a fever or cough. You won't wait until the illness goes away on its own and will take a fever-reducing pill or a tincture to be back on track. So why should it be different when you're anxious or depressed? Think of stress management as a cure for your mind since it's equally important as your body health.
Still, not every trouble is terrible for your efficiency. There's a strong link between stress and productivity, and the Yerkes-Dodson law sets out its basic concepts. It claims that professionals with too low pressure aren't motivated to show their best at work. Meanwhile, too stressed people are becoming counterproductive due to excessive anxiety. So to deliver significant performance, you need to find an optimal stress level for you when you're not so relaxed and comfortable with your responsibility level.
Undoubtedly, ignoring high stress in the long term may be disastrous for your productivity, motivation, and life quality. According to researchers, here what stress can do to your body and mind:
- weaken your immunity and make you more susceptible to disease
- cause memory loss
- reduce your body's ability to produce energy
- slows down your metabolism and leads to obesity
- affect your heart health by increasing your blood pressure
- lower your motivation, creativity, and willpower
- lead to insomnia and headaches
- make you aggressive, zoned out, confused, and too emotional
- prevent you from making well-thought decisions.
That's why you should commit to memory to care about your mental health, no matter how busy you are. After all, what's the point in building a successful career when nothing gives meaning to your life?
How to identify that you're stressed?
When you go deep in your work, you're too focused on solving work issues and completing assignments to monitor your mental condition. So you may experience intense stress without even noticing it. Therefore, you should acknowledge yourself with primary stress and depression symptoms to treat them timely and be full of the joys of spring.
You're facing a high level of stress when you:
- have insomnia, disturbed sleep patterns, or oversleep frequently
- lose the appetite and can't enjoy dishes you liked before
- feel fatigued even after completing minor tasks
- become angry or irritated out of the blue
- find it hard to focus or remember essential things
- aren't interested in spending your time on things that made you happy before (like hobby or party with friends)
- gain too much weight or lose it drastically.
If you're facing two or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks, then it's time to worry about your mental health. Still, it doesn't mean you should call a psychiatrist and take some tranquil that will turn you into a vegetable. When your mental condition is not too bad yet, you can handle it on your own.
We've prepared a list of short and long-term stress-relieving practices that will help you bring back your passion for life and show better results at work. Let's see what you can do!
Best short-term and easy practices to relieve stress
When reality starts to drive you crazy, there's no better remedy than instant meditations. They will take you only a few minutes but still can significantly change your perception of reality. As for scientists, they claim meditations are an outstanding choice to reduce anxiety and chronic pain, improve mood, and strengthen your heart. What's more, Project Meditation research states meditation can increase your productivity by 120%. Then, what are the best meditations that you can perform in any place?
If you want to reconnect your brain and body, feel the current moment, and take control over your feelings, try the body scan meditation. Ulm University study proves body scan meditation can reduce the cortisol level after testing its effect on 47 students. Another research results revealed the link between body scan meditation and chronic pain reduction. So if you feel overwhelmed or tensed, try these meditation practices to go back to your everyday life.
You can try body scan meditation even with the busiest schedule since it doesn't need any special equipment or extra space. When sitting at your desk or during your morning subway trip, freeze for a few minutes, directing your consciousness deep into yourself.
Start scanning your body from heels to head, listening to the sensations of each organ and cell. If you find out that some parts of your body are tense or aching, hold your attention on them, and imagine how you mentally remove the pain.
Do you have those moments when you wish to have a teleport that can instantly bring you back to the places where your soul lives, like a tropical beach or a foggy forest? Unfortunately, there's no such a teleport yet, but you have a decent substitute — your imagination!
Guided imagery meditation means that you mentally escape your reality and transfer yourself into a calming place to find harmony. Cleveland Clinic report says this type of meditation is effective in reducing anxiety and obsessive thoughts. Besides, guided imagery will help you fight depression, anger, insomnia and increase your self-confidence.
During a coffee break at the office or after waking up, sit calmly for a few minutes with your eyes closed. Imagine the place where you felt happy and carefree. It can be a seaside resort you visited during summer or your grandmother's courtyard — the place you're familiar with. Turning on relaxing music with the sound of nature will help you immerse deeply in the atmosphere.
Imagine the sounds surrounding you, the feeling of a light breeze on your face, the scent of flowers, or the smell of seawater. Feel how your anxiety and troubles fade away, leaving your mind clear and your body relaxed.
Breathing is the only reflex that stays with us from the first and until the last moment of our life. Still, we barely pay attention to how many benefits it gives us and how it can change our emotional state. Breathing meditation is simple — focus on how you inhale and exhale, and feel your body reactions.
As for the Harvard Health Publishing piece, this practice is the first step to mindfulness, which helps you feel the present moment and reduce your risk of getting a heart disorder. Besides, you can practice it literally anywhere without special preparations.
You can try it on your way home or when you have an instant feeling of anger or sadness. Focus all your attention on breathing, feel how the air fills your lungs, and promote your life energy. If it's hard to focus, you can count every inhale. The primary purpose of this meditation is to feel that you're alive and that while you're still breathing, no trouble or failure can bring you down.
Talk it out
That's it — you can't take it anymore and are about to crash your workplace and run away. Or you feel like turning into a ghost with no wishes and willpower, who is doomed to eternal hellish labor. But wait, we have one suggestion to prevent you from breaking down!
Talking out about your problems is what can help you. Scientists claim that revealing your anxiousness and troubles will release your tension and help you sort them out by finding better solutions. Furthermore, surveys have found that talking about problems strengthens your immunity and may prevent mental disorders caused by suppressed suffering.
Call or meet the person you trust the most — it can be your mom or a close friend and tell how you feel right now. Talk about your anxiety without worrying or blaming yourself, ask for advice, or try to solve your issue together. It will help you to feel that you're not alone and get the necessary support.
If you don't want to share your problems with beloved ones, you can visit a forum and talk about your pain anonymously. There will always be people to support you during hard times, so don't hesitate to reach out to them.
Best long-term and more complex practices to relieve stress
Suppose you want to get significant results and become a calmer and more focused person. In that case, quick practices won't be nearly enough. You should develop sustained stress-relieving habits, and that's not too complicated if you know which way to choose. These long-term practices will help you maintain composure and concentration even during tough times.
Watch what you eat
A balanced and healthy diet has more benefits aside from keeping you slim. Abbott's research claims that healthy foods improve blood flow, maintaining your brain and mental health. Besides, certain foods may boost your mood, energy level, and overall well being.
For instance, complex carbs help your brain produce more serotonin — the hormone of happiness. You can find it in whole-grain pasta, oatmeal, beans, or potatoes. Fruits are also great in promoting your good mood — a survey has proven people who eat more fruits are happier than those who avoid them. In turn, Omega-3 fatty acids, which you can find in fish and supplements, are a proper treatment for depression and mental health disorders.
If you have a busy schedule, it's not so easy to maintain a healthy diet. Still, you can change some of your minor habits to fight stress. First, it'd be good for you to replace sugary snacks with fruits and berries. Then you can add more complex carbs and fish meat to your weekly menu by ordering a takeaway.
We all know that moving is living, still, here we are, spending most of the time beside our screens. No wonder we're feeling depressed and zoned out at the end of our day. Anxiety & Depression Association study says that our body produces more endorphins (pain-reducing chemicals) during exercises. It helps you sleep better, release tension, stabilize your mood, and reduce anxiety.
But wait, what should you do if you have fixed working hours and no gym near your house? Don't fret since any movements will help you fight stress. A short massage session, a 5-minute warm-up in the morning, or even a deep breath while walking around your office is enough to make you feel less confused and depressed.
Consider sleep as a total blessing to your mental health — when you rest, your brain is reloading and processing all information you've received during the day. During sleep, your cortisol level drops, relieving all the stress you've faced throughout the day.
Besides, it allows your brain to flush away unnecessary information, not overload your mind and keep your head clear the following day. According to the study, sleep deprivation can make you too emotional, induce excessive anxiety and obsessive thoughts.
Building a healthy sleep pattern will be a piece of cake if you stick to the schedule. Set the alarm not only for the morning but also to remind yourself about going to bed. Eating heavy meals, heavy drinking, or scrolling your feed may interrupt your sleep, that's why we recommend you avoid such routines.
There are some cases when depression hits you due to micronutrient deficiencies. Numerous researches claim that Omega-3 deficiency may higher your risks of getting depression. Meanwhile, low levels of vitamin B12, zinc, and iron are more common in overstressed people.
Furthermore, various herbal supplements lower your stress and depression symptoms while making your mind sharp and calm. Among the most potent stress-relieving herbal supplements are Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, ginseng, and Ginkgo Biloba.
Supplements will positively impact your mental health only if you take them regularly and in the proper dosage. That's why using a 7-day pill box along with reminders is the right choice to optimize your supplementation. Plus, you can take them along with your meals to ensure your intake regularity.
Our life is full of different stressors and situations that may upset us and even lead to depression. Still, an optimal stress level may help you perform your best at the workplace and boost your motivation. Meanwhile, if you've noticed that you have depression symptoms or a low mood for longer than two weeks, stress-relieving practices will help you overcome them.
You may choose quick and easy solutions like meditations or drastically improve your mental health by sticking to long-term practices. In any way, caring for your mind is one of the keys to a successful career and joyful life. And the last thing — stay tuned for more insights on health and productivity!
- Nutrition And Depression: Implications For Improving Mental Health Among Childbearing-Aged Women (2005)
- How Can Sleep Reduce Stress? (2018)
- Sleep Loss Results In An Elevation Of Cortisol Levels The Next Evening (1998)
- Physical Activity Reduces Stress (2021)
- Many Apples A Day Keep The Blues Away – Daily Experiences Of Negative And Positive Affect And Food Consumption In Young Adults (2013)
- Brain Serotonin, Carbohydrate-Craving, Obesity And Depression (1995)
- In Need Of Stress Relief? The Answer Might Be In Your Diet (2021
- Why Talking About Our Problems Makes Us Feel Better (2019)
- Talking Through Problems (2020)
- Breath Meditation: A Great Way To Relieve Stress (2014)
- How Do We Breathe? (2019)
- Guided Imagery (2021)
- Immediate Effects Of A Brief Mindfulness-Based Body Scan On Patients With Chronic Pain (2014)
- Effects Of An 8-Week Body Scan Intervention On Individually Perceived Psychological Stress And Related Steroid Hormones In Hair (2019)
- 27 Meditation Statistics For Your Well-Being In 2021 (2021)
- Depression Symptoms And Warning Signs (2021)
- 10 Reasons Stress Can Be Dangerous For Your Health (2020)
- Why Stress Is Not That Bad For Your Productivity At Work? (2016)
- 42 Worrying Workplace Stress Statistics (2019)
- Stress Statistics 2021: How Common Is Stress And Who’s Most Affected? (2021)