Asia is an increasingly stressful place to live and work in. Surveys last year saw 67 per cent of Singaporeans and 70 per cent of Malaysians report that they are seeing more stress-related illnesses at work. Make sure that you manage and reduce your stress levels with these five effective 'de-stress' techniques.
1 Step away
When tasks are piling up, take a short break now and again. Take just 10 minutes of quiet reflection time, savour a cup of kopi-O in the pantry, or take a stroll around the office building. It may sound counterintuitive, but psychologists argue that a short break will better help you de-stress and recharge than a long one. By stepping away for just a few minutes, you will be able to tackle the work you have to get done with renewed vigour. After all, Albert Einstein is thought to have come up with the theory of relativity while riding his bicycle!
2 Break it down
No, we’re not asking you to suddenly get up and perform a funky dance. Rather, to view each of your projects as a series of smaller tasks. This will make the work look less daunting. There are a few useful apps, ranging from free options such as Evernote, or paid time-management apps such as Things (S$64.98) to help you do just that. With these apps, you will be able to break down jobs into easily achievable, bite-size chunks and manage your tasks across multiple devices. Of course, nothing beats the good ol' feeling of fervently crossing out an item on your to-do list!
3 Prioritise tasks
Once you have your list of tasks, sort them in order of importance. Get the important and urgent matters out of the way first and you will gain a huge sense of achievement as well as relief. You might want to put a couple of unpleasant tasks upfront, too, so that the rest of the day becomes more agreeable.
4 Learn to say "no"
It's never wise to schedule things back-to-back because meetings often overrun and tasks may take longer than estimated. Hence, be brave enough to say "no", and suggest alternative meeting times and deadlines. This way, you have breathing space to complete your work and won’t be stressed by the ticking clock.
Saying "no" doesn’t make you a slacker. In fact, both psychologists and business consultants argue that saying "no" shows you have both vision and opinion. To ensure that you’re not perceived as merely putting up objections you should clearly explain what you need, your challenges, or the deadlines you face. This will both show people the rationale for your "no", and allow you to eliminate distractions and formulate solutions to the problem.
5 Don't bring your work home
Your home should be a place where you can relax and recharge after a hard day's work; it shouldn’t become an extension of the office, otherwise there'd be no escaping from work stress! A lack of work-life balance may also create more stress in other areas, such as your family or social life. So it's important that you set aside some time for them every day.
The workplace can be a stressful environment, so it's important to start work every day as calmly as possible. Regular exercise is a great way of relieving stress and anxiety. Running is a great way to warm up and calm down – try some of our favourite running routes. Take time to recharge and you'll be able to face the challenges of the working day – and put these de-stress techniques to work.
Don't be too hard on yourself, small steps lead to great things. Try to keep these techniques in mind and practice them when you can. You'll soon be enjoying calmer days at work.