Everyone experiences ruts at various points in their lives, and the stress of those times can spill over into our work environment. In the depth of those dark valleys, we can feel overwhelmed, misdirected, ineffective and stagnant. How you respond during those dismal moments can be crucial in helping you regain your footing and sense of serenity so you can once again feel productive, positive and at peace in your workplace.
As a writer dealing with overwhelming stress and impending life changes, finding my center and generating creative content can be a challenge; however, shirking responsibility and disappointing an online audience that depends on my insight are never acceptable and only perpetuate feelings of inadequacy.
Here are five personal ideas for finding inner peace at work during your high-stress seasons:
1. Take a Break
The experts at APA recommend taking a break from the stressor. Simply step away from whatever it is that’s clouding your mind. Exercise, APA urges. For me, a brisk 10-minute, prayerful walk outdoors around my office clears my head and enables me to get some physical distance as well as some perspective. During my walk, I find a way to connect with nature. I am serenaded by birds hiding out and singing in the bushes along one side of the building, while on the other side of the building, I am visually stimulated by another group of birds busily poking their beaks into the feeders set out for them in the courtyard. And that makes me smile.
2. Smile or Laugh
You may not realize it, but you wear your stress on your face. The APA recommends smiling or laughing more often when you’re stressed, which forces your countenance into a more attractive position while at the same time floods feel-good chemicals into the brain to lift your spirits. I am fortunate to work in an office where coworkers often share animated gifs via email that incite laughter and giggling. One particular coworker, who I won’t name here, has an infectious laugh. It is music to my ears every time I hear it, which is nearly every day!
3. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude
PsychCentral.com offers another great suggestion, which always works for me as well. Practice gratitude by pausing to reflect throughout your day on something or someone for which or for whom you are grateful. Take a few seconds to send a text or an email to someone to express your thanks or take a moment to tell a coworker how much you value them. You are guaranteed to spread cheer and make others smile!
4. Listen to Music
Listening to calming music while I work also helps alleviate stress. Music works for some but for others it can be a distraction. In our office, music is always being piped through overhead speakers. If it’s something I’m not into, I just slip on the ear buds and tune in to my own music that elicits calm.
5. Deep Breathing
In a Forbes magazine article on ways to stay calm at work, The Breathe Release method is explained. This is something I’ve been doing for years. Take a deep breath in, hold it for 10 seconds, and slowly exhale as you envision stress leaving every fiber of your being. The article recommends this action three times. For me, it seems to always take four exhalations, so do what feels best for you.
If you can learn to manage your stress effectively, you can still produce great high-quality content even during the valleys of life. Take the Content Marketing Institute’s advice on writing when stressed:
- Streamline and prioritize your work. Focus on what you can do right now rather than putting undue pressure on yourself to go endlessly above and beyond what is really needed. Simplify and hone your focus to make the most out of every word written, working with the tools readily and easily available to you at the moment.
- Minimize distractions and interruptions by carving out a time to just write distraction-free.
- Manage expectations so that you don’t fall prey to performance anxiety. View your blog post as a step in the right direction, not as a “silver bullet to annihilate the competition and lead to a brighter future.”
How do you find your island of calm in a sea of turbulence when a school of online users are swarming in anticipation of granules of information? Share what works for you.
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