6 Stress-Busting Techniques for High-Pressure Work Environments

6 Stress-Busting Techniques - Toolshero

Managing a high-stress job daily can take a significant toll on your mental health. Consistent, repeated exposure to stressors can also impact physical health, levels of productivity, and even increase the likelihood of quitting the job.

Implementing effective stress management techniques is a vital part of avoiding these outcomes and puts a focus on battling workplace stress instead. Building a better balance of work and play is also important, particularly for the work life balance of nurses, doctors, mining laborers, or farmers who all work significantly longer hours than the average occupation.

According to the American Insitute of Stress, up to 62% of workers reported having high levels of stress that resulted in “extreme fatigue” and “feeling out of control”. To combat this growing trend, we have listed six stress-busting techniques you can use in high-pressure work environments.

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1. Identify stress triggers

What triggers stress can differ from person to person. According to Statista, the leading causes of work-related stress are being overworked, a lack of work-life balance, and inadequate compensation. These are closely followed by job insecurity, a lack of support, and a lack of flexibility.

Identifying what triggers stress for you is an important step forward. By becoming aware of the root cause of your stress, you can begin taking steps toward addressing it yourself, with work colleagues or managers.

2. Practice breathing strategies

A simple, immediate response to calm the nervous system and reduce stress is to practice breathing strategies. When a person is relaxed they will breathe through their nose slowly and gently. Deliberately replicating this breathing pattern during moments of stress can help lower your heart rate, balance levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, and increase feelings of calm and well-being.

Another effective breathing strategy to try is the ‘physiological sigh’. This technique involves taking two deep breaths in through the nose, holding for a few seconds, and then exhaling slowly through the mouth. This method can help stimulate the body’s ‘relax’ response and alleviate any lingering tension.
Practice breathing strategies - Toolshero

3. Take outdoor mindfulness breaks

Taking a few minutes to step outside (or at least away from a desk or workspace) can do wonders when it comes to regulating stress. Exposure to natural light, fresh air and outdoor surroundings has been shown to decrease anxiety levels and lessen feelings of stress or anger.

Exercise has the same proven benefits, so incorporating a walk, simple stretches or other gentle exercise into your workday can also be an excellent way to reset yourself and combat stress.

4. Prioritise sleep

Sleep is a necessary human function and for good reason – it allows our brains to recharge and our bodies to rest. If we do not sleep for long enough, or experience poor sleep, we cannot reap the full benefits of a good night’s rest which can lead to poor memory, poor judgment, and a bad mood. This can in turn increase feelings of stress, with adults who sleep fewer than eight hours a night reporting higher stress levels than those who sleep at least eight hours a night.

To avoid this, aim for 7-9 quality hours of sleep each night and focus on techniques that can help you achieve this such as sticking to a sleep schedule, creating a restful environment before sleep, and including physical activity throughout your day.

5. Prioritise nutrition

In the same manner stress levels can be seriously impacted by sleep, nutrition is another lifestyle factor that can strongly influence stress levels. Focus on consuming a balanced diet that is rich in micronutrients to avoid deficiencies in vitamins and minerals that can exacerbate stress levels.

Reducing the release of cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) through proper nutrition and better sleeping habits can help you manage work-related stress better.
lifestyle factors nutrition - Toolshero

6. Manage your work-life balance

One of the top reasons people experience work-related stress is the result of a poor work-life balance. A good work-life balance should result in you feeling a sense of balance between time spent at work and time spent on your personal life.

People with a healthy work-life balance report reduced stress levels, greater focus, and higher levels of job satisfaction. Tips for maintaining a good balance include creating boundaries around time spent on work (only working during business hours, not answering your phone beyond this time, and so on), managing your time effectively to avoid after-hours work, and maintaining a good and honest relationship with your manager to avoid stressful scenarios and set healthy working expectations.

Managing stress in high-pressure work environments will help you maintain your overall sense of well-being. Alongside instant stress-relief techniques such as breathing or taking regular outdoor breaks, it is important to invest in your self-care with proper sleeping and nutritional behaviors to give yourself the best possible chance of managing stressful situations and navigating them with ease.

Vincent van Vliet
Article by:

Vincent van Vliet

Vincent van Vliet is co-founder and responsible for the content and release management. Together with the team Vincent sets the strategy and manages the content planning, go-to-market, customer experience and corporate development aspects of the company.

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