Before you can start packing your suitcase, there are still a number of jobs to be ‘ticked off’; in fact, your ‘to do’ list seems to expand in the days just before you set off on holiday. These last-minute tasks can be particularly stressful, significantly affecting your mood and daily routine. Yet, faced with the same demands, your work colleagues appear much more relaxed. Why is this? The fact is, we don’t all respond to stress in the same way. What makes the difference is our ability to take a step back and get some perspective on the events or demands facing us.
In practice: Taking stock allows you to decide how important or urgent certain demands are. You can then prioritise the most pressing jobs, and work more effectively. Result: an injection of optimism to keep you motivated till your holidays begin!
Taking a step back also allows you to delegate certain jobs to your colleagues. They might even be able to perform them better. Keep only those tasks that are related to your core profession and delegate everything else. Be careful though – delegating a job does not mean getting rid of it completely. In order for this new devolved way of working to be effective, you need to ensure each of your team members is fully aware of their responsibilities by clearly explaining the objectives and challenges of their tasks. You then need to monitor the progress of the delegated assignment.
In practice: Knowing how to delegate enables you to cope with an excessive workload. Teamwork makes for a more effective and relaxed way of working. Result: a good team spirit to overcome the challenges of the ‘final stretch’!
From time to time, taking stock and delegating are simply not enough to cope with work overload. In such cases, it may be a sign that your objectives are far too ambitious, leading to a permanent state of stress which significantly affects your daily life. To prevent such a scenario, it’s important to know when to say ‘no’, whether it’s a case of too much work, an impossible demand or an unrealistic deadline. Saying ‘no’ does not necessarily mean refusing to take on a task; it can be a way of finding a compromise that enables the work to be carried out effectively.
In practice: Learning to say ‘no’ allows you to (re)gain control of your time and workload. You can then fulfil your commitments in a stress-free manner. Result: maximum effectiveness for a ‘strong finish’ to the pre-holiday period!
Work overload is a major cause of stress in the workplace. Many studies have shown that professional stress has a negative impact both on health and quality of work. When you’re stressed, you perform less well and work tends to build up. Natural, anti-stress products are available to help you avoid getting caught up in this vicious circle. The best-known is GABA, short for gamma aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter that reduces stimulation of neurons. Dietary supplements have also been formulated from active principles extracted from plants with anti-stress effects. One such supplement is L-theanine, an active green tea compound known for its calming properties.
In practice: Taking anti-stress supplements helps combat the stress that negatively affects health and productivity. Free from stress, you can approach work in a more relaxed manner helping you to stay focused on the job in hand. Result: a calming effect for a less frantic finish to the pre-holiday period!
As the summer holidays draw near, we tend to feel increasingly tired, and this state of fatigue can be exacerbated by stress and anxiety. Being overloaded with work can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, leaving us at risk of insomnia. Sleep problems can impair mental processes such as attention and concentration which is why it’s so important to maintain good sleep patterns. You should try to go to bed early, and avoid looking at a screen for too long in order to fall asleep quickly. Sleep-promoting supplements can be a significant aid. For example, melatonin, also known as the ‘sleep hormone’, is often recommended as a natural anti-stress treatment for insomnia. It’s available in dietary supplement form either as a spray or in capsules.
In practice: Ensuring good quality sleep helps the body function properly. A good night’s sleep pays dividends the next day in terms of productivity. Result: restorative sleep for effectiveness at work right up to the holidays!
Like sleep, diet has an impact on how effective we are at work. Studies have shown that inadequate nutritional intake can promote a state of stress. It is therefore essential to adopt and maintain good dietary habits. In this regard, certain nutrients have been shown to be particularly beneficial at combating stress and fatigue. These include magnesium, a mineral known for its anti-stress effects, and vitamins such as vitamin C, recognised for its stimulant effects and antioxidant potency. Antioxidants fight the harmful effects caused by stress.
In practice: Adopting a balanced diet supports and protects your health, maintaining the body’s functions and preventing the negative effects of stress. Result: good nutritional intake for efficacy in the workplace!
In addition to a healthy, balanced diet, it’s always a good idea to take regular exercise. Essential for good health, physical activity is a fast, effective way of de-stressing. Relaxing activities are also recommended for managing everyday stress more effectively. There are many options available for helping to relax the mind and body, such as meditation, yoga, tai-chi or sophrology.
In practice: Engaging in sporting activity helps relieve stress. You can also manage stress better through relaxation activities. Result: less day-to-day stress!