The 2 p.m. shakes are inevitable for some people.

They’ve set out their to-do list in the morning and yet somehow, some way, the stress gets to them and they feel like they’re spinning out of control.

It all feels like too much.

Some escape with a daydream, willing themselves to another world, another place, another time when they know they can be stress-free and happy.

Some give themselves liberal doses of facepalm or wish they could get bang their heads against the wall repeatedly and not add to their already pounding headache.

Some take it out on their co-workers … so not healthy!

Work is the biggest stressor for Canadians and excessive, unmanageable stress can have a negative impact on our emotional well-being, health, wellness and productivity. It leads to lowered productivity, higher absenteeism and increased disability claims.

It’s all cyclical, too, causing stress in other areas of our lives.

The stress at work causes stress at home, and then the stress of neglecting home affects the person’s work performance and further increases their stress at work. ~ Huffington Post blogger Dr. Michelle Callahan

It all turns into a negative impact on your company’s productivity and bottom line. Our health-care system takes a big hit, too!

For instance, did you know:

A healthier, less-stressed workforce means employees are more likely to be effective, efficient and committed to their work.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#beatburnout” remove_twitter_handles=”true”]Destressed employees feel valued and respected and they experience a higher degree of job satisfaction.[/tweetthis]

How can I manage my stress better?

Many companies invest in their employees with corporate-wellness programs and by promoting stress management. These are great learning tools for individuals and help them realize their companies want what’s best for them.

An intuitive leader — boss, manager or supervisor — should keep an eye out for the signs of stress and help employees beat burnout before it sets in. Good leaders watch for an increase in absenteeism, a decrease in productivity, low morale and other indicators.

But what if you’re in one of those places where you’re just a number? A company that doesn’t give a rat’s behind about your mental state as long as the work gets done eventually?

I have a sneaking suspicion it might be time to plan your exit strategy and look for another job! Because if a company doesn’t care about you, you shouldn’t care about it.

In the meantime, it might be a good idea to initiate some self-care instead of losing your productivity and diminishing your self-worth.

Instead of mindlessly scrolling Facebook or getting all hopped on your eighth cup of coffee, let’s try to beat the afternoon blues in a healthful way.

It’s time to take action and manage your stress better. For the next 10 consecutive days, do at least one of these six rescue remedies and, before you know it, it will become a habit.

relaxation techniques

1. Breathe.

Inhale. Exhale. Pause. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Yes, it really is this simple. Pay attention to the sound of your breath and try to inhale and exhale deeper each time. You may feel your heart rate slow down and your mind should become a wee bit calmer.

2. Change your words.

You have this to-do list and items on it that you should do. “I should finish this report” or “I should make this phone call” elevate your stress levels. If you change should to could, you create a choice and remove the shame you feel if you don’t get to those items.

3. Get inspired.

Watch a short, motivational video. Bookmark a few that you like or create playlists called “Attitude UP,” “Energy SOS” or “Motivating Moments” and click play when you need to shift gears. Me? I head on over TedTalks and every Wednesday, I post a favourite video on my Facebook page.

4. Rant.

Be your own Rick Mercer. Get it out and get it off your chest. If you make your point, even better! By the end of your rant, you have given your frustration a voice while taking a few deep breaths. But please do consider your subject before you let anyone hear. I encourage my clients to rant in the privacy of their own alley. Empty bathrooms are handy places, too.

5. Move.

Get up from your chair and shake it off. Do a little dance, shake a little ass. OK, that might good for those of you lucky enough to work from home. But seriously … go for a walk (take a walking meeting!), stretch and get your blood flowing again. It’s a great pick-me-up.

6. Give yourself permission.

This is the big one. Let yourself be wherever you are in the process. If that’s No. 4 on your 10-item to-do list, fine. If that’s something in the bigger picture, like right here, right now in your life, fine. You can also give yourself permission to experiment with new techniques or tools and try to change your habitual patterns. That’s giving yourself permission to change.

When you find the courage to admit it’s time to change, your adventure begins. Each one of these rescue remedies is a small step toward big change and you can let that happen.

Where does your adventure take you? And will you enjoy the ride?

Feature image courtesy of stockimages and

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