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Shaping Up

Four Ways to Manage Work-Related Stress

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Between the barrage of emails, the constant temptation of waistline-expanding snacks and that co-worker you absolutely cannot stand, work can be stressful.

When we become stressed, our bodies shift, causing us to react both emotionally and biologically in a defensive, fight or flight mode. Stress is one of the leading causes of health issues from weight gain and anxiety to memory impairment and heart disease.

But it’s important to remember that actually becoming stressed is a decision, one that we can choose not to make.

How to avoid this reaction? Here are four ways:

Step away from the free food!
Eating nutritionally devoid, caffeinated, high carb and fat foods can trigger stress, especially when combined with a hectic work environment. Stress causes an increase in the hormone cortisol, which amps up our cravings. This poses a problem when we are regularly offered bagels for breakfast and team lunches of pizza and iceberg lettuce salad. To break it down, regular consumption of junk food can contribute to stress which causes us to crave more junk food. See the cycle here? To top it off, studies link cortisol specifically to belly fat storage not to mention dampened libidos and depression. So if you want to keep that tummy tight and stay strong, make it a point to prepare healthy meals and snacks for work.

Speak your peace
When your colleague does something you dislike, do you express yourself in an appropriate way or do you wait until you are fed up, then explode? Being vocal about our feelings in a respectful way is essential to maintaing a peaceful, productive work environment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of all employees view their jobs as the number-one stressor in life. Often employees feel this way due to a factor in their workplace that they would like to improve. Instead of complaining every day that office snacks and meals are unhealthy, why not build solidarity with a few colleagues then push HR for nutritious options?

Put in work before work
Take the time to prepare for workplace stress before you arrive. Be disciplined about meditating, praying or journaling and make unwinding part of your routine. Each night, map out what you need to take with you and keep a checklist so you don’t forget. On the way to work, take the time to visualize your day and imagine yourself excelling. Staying organized and committed to your spiritual practice will provide you a strong buffer against each day’s stressors.

Expect reality
It’s unrealistic to think that when you arrive at work, your manager won’t aggravate you and the phone will stop ringing. Setting expectations for what you encounter will shield you from frustration when the unfavorable arises. If we instead know that the phone will ring nonstop and our boss will act as he always does, we won’t become upset when these things happen and if they don’t, we are pleasantly surprised. Setting realistic expectations can enable us to use the time we spent feeling frustrated for more productive work like creating action items or setting time lines.

Following these guidelines will help you stay healthier both in and out of work. Just take a deep breath and remember that the first priority is to take care of you!

About Brocollete 

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Brocollete is the public persona of L.A. native, wellness promoter and entrepreneur Njambi Gibson.  Njambi’s mission is to educate, inspire and empower all people (but specifically women) to live cleaner, healthier lives. Brocollete.com offers nutritional consultations, lifestyle revamps, wellness guidance, events and free resources. To get freebie guidance and daily tips from Brocollete, follow her on InstagramTwitterPinterest and Facebook pages coming soon. Check out her website at brocollete.com.