When it comes to improving your health, there is never a better time to start than right now. If you are reading this piece on a tablet or smartphone that is aggravating your RSI, put it down right this moment. It is time to reconsider how you consume content. Get a stand for your phone or tablet so you don’t have to hold it. Do your reading on a laptop. Or get a smaller and lighter device to hold. Don’t be a slave to habits that are causing you pain or discomfort. And don’t wait to start dealing with them.
This is especially true when it comes to work-related stress. Most of your waking, weekday hours are spent at work. If it is causing you mental distress you can’t afford to wait. You need to do something about it immediately. You might be at work right now. So there is no time to waste. Let’s get started.
1. Stand Up
You might think that sitting down is a way to take a load off. But in truth, you might just be putting a load on when it comes to physical stress and strain. You can increase circulation and work out some of the kinks just by standing up for a minute or two every hour. You can try it right now.
For a longer-term strategy, you can look into getting a Live Edge standing desk, which is currently all the rage in forward-thinking startups. That way, you don’t have to stop working just to stand up and stretch your legs. If you like working in a more upright position, you can pair your desk with one of those active chairs that allow you to rest your legs while still preventing the slouch that creates back and neck pain. While you are waiting for your new desk to arrive, just stand from time to time and experience instant results.
You don’t have to adopt a full lotus position to start meditating in the workplace. You can do it right at your desk regardless of how much space you have to spread out. You can adopt a more comfortable position and start the process. Meditation is about inward rather than an outward focus. You can let the outside just drift away. It might help to focus on something like your fingertip.
You are not usually aware of it. Can you feel the tip of your left index finger without touching it with any other fingers? Does it have a sensation of temperature? The answers don’t matter. What matters is that for those few moments of high concentration, you were not aware of anything else. Just imagine what a five-minute session can do.
3. Leave Your Desk
Your desk is the scene of most of your work stress. Take five. Don’t ask for permission. Just get up and take a no-smoke break outside. Listen to bird songs, the leaves in the wind, or traffic. Listen to anything except your coworkers and the fax machine and the boss complaining about you taking too many breaks.
4. Take a Mental Health Day
If you are the kind of person who doesn’t take all your sick days, it is time to change that habit. Those sick days are not just for colds or broken arms. They can also be used as mental health days. It is sometimes called a stop day. It doesn’t matter what you call it. Just be sure to do it when you start feeling a bit overworked. A day off from time to time is a lot better than burnout from non-stop stress.
5. Start a New Job Search
Your job should not be a source of constant stress. Somewhere along the way, we have accepted the idea that work is supposed to be hard and stressful — something to be endured rather than enjoyed. That is simply not the case. Even if it results in a pay cut, you will never regret moving from a job you hate to one that you love.
Work stress is not inevitable. Relieve it by standing for part of your day, meditating, going outside, taking a mental health day from time to time, and beginning the search for a job that doesn’t pile on the stress in the first place.