The line that used to separate work and home is blurrier than ever. Technology makes it possible to answer emails at the gym or wrap up a project after the kids go to bed. As your work and home life blend together more and more, here are some simple ways to keep stress levels low and productivity high.
Take advantage of tools that help you focus and clear your head:
- Turn on the tunes. Listening to music at work can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, helping you feel calmer. There’s no right or wrong type to listen to — as long as it’s music that you enjoy and find relaxing. (But if you’re looking for recommendations, listening to this song was shown to reduce overall anxiety by 65%, according to a British study.)
- Do one thing at a time. Try focusing on just one task before moving on to the next one. Mulitasking might seem efficient, but it can actually lower your productivity and make you prone to mistakes. Checking off one item at a time could help you accomplish more overall — and feel less stressed while you do it.
- Take a walk outside. Lace up your sneakers and leave your phone behind. Even a short, uninterrupted stroll outside of the office can help clear your head. Walking can also boost your energy, so you’ll feel fresh when you get back to work.
Find time for low-key activities, keep your living space calm and make sleep a priority:
- Take a colouring break. Grab some crayons or coloured pencils and channel your inner child. Creative activities like colouring draw your attention into the moment, rather than focusing on stressful thoughts like tomorrow’s client meeting or project deadline. Don’t worry if you’re not a natural Picasso. Just let your hand move freely and see what comes up.
- Try aromatherapy. Scents can have a powerful impact on your mood. Infuse your space with stress-fighting essential oils like lavender or bergamot. Both have been shown to calm the nervous system by lowering blood pressure and heart rate, promoting feelings of relaxation.
- Get enough sleep. Resist the urge to stay up late answering emails or watching Netflix — and aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Even one night of sleep deprivation can increase feelings of stress, anger, sadness and mental exhaustion. When you’re well-rested, you simply have more mental bandwidth to cope with stressful situations.
Creating harmony throughout your day can take some extra effort. The good news is that devoting a little bit of time to self-care can go a long way toward relieving stress, so you can feel your best at work and home.