Keep calm and carry omm: 5 simple ways to ease work stress
It’s no secret that many Singaporeans live harried and stressful lives. According to the Ministry of Manpower, they work an average of 2,392 hours per year – among the highest in the world. As a result, health issues like insomnia, eating disorders, and a general case of crankiness may arise.
According to a 2015 Harvard study, work-related chronic illnesses such as hypertension and cardiovascular diseases kill more Americans than diabetes, Alzheimer’s or influenza. Market research firm Morgan McKinley also said over 80 per cent of Singapore professionals work longer than their contractual hours, leading to poor work-life balance.
Top three causes of stress in Asia Pacific:
41% Inadequate staffing
37% Low Pay
32% Lack of work/life balance
Source: Towers Watson Staying @ Work Survey Report 2013/2014
However, it isn’t all bad news. These statistics have led companies to reduce stress on employees. Even as you’re reading this, more employers are rolling out programmes introducing flexible work options, regular health screenings and lifestyle behaviour coaching. If it hasn’t arrived at your company yet, take a deep breath and be patient. Meanwhile, here are some things you can do to chase away the work blues:
1. Go for a Walk
No, it’s not a long one off a short pier. Even the slightest bit of exercise does wonders for stress as it releases endorphins, also known as the happy hormones. To put you in a better mood, take your favourite music with you to tune out the world.
2. Laughter is the Best Medicine
Smiling or laughing, even if you don’t feel like it, can actually lift your mood. Studies have shown a full smile – one that uses facial muscles around the eyes – can spark brain activity that puts you in a happier mood.
3. Keep Your Chin up
Here’s a strange one: Look to the sky and count down from 60. Apparently, the act of looking up stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. This lowers blood pressure and slows your breathing. Counting in deliberate fashion – which is why you should count backwards – acts to distract you from your worries.
4. Retreat Within
Meditation can help to distract your mind. Just focus on your favourite go-to place, word or even an idea, and let your worries fall away. Even if you think you don’t have time to meditate, try muttering a calming word or phrase to yourself.
5. Pamper Yourself
This is the easiest and most enjoyable way to de-stress. Treat yourself to the Escentika Spa at the Millennium Resort Patong Phuket and let the therapist knead your troubles away. For maximum effect, turn off your mobile devices.