Sometimes, you need more than a double shot of espresso to make it through the workday. Between endless emails, meetings, and screen-staring, your body and mind can easily become victims to stress. Heck, some companies even offer "mental health" days to combat the daily grind. All this anxiety (paired with lack of sleep—raise your hand if that's you) can wreak havoc on your health.
How Stress Can Affect Your Heart
In light of American Heart Month, it’s important to focus on ways that stress can affect your heart. Daily anxiety can cause high blood pressure and lifestyle impulses. You may be tempted to partake in heart-hurting activities like like overeating, excessive drinking, and smoking. Furthermore, already having heart disease can cause anxiety and depression, so it’s important to get your symptoms in check from the start, and learn how to cope with these threats before it upsets your mental health.Everyone experiences symptoms of stress in different forms, but a few ones to be aware of include: Headaches, dizziness, stomach pain, muscle aches, anger, depression, mood swings, and impulsive actions (learn more).
Here's how focus on reducing these symptoms with a few easy tips to make it through the workday:
Write Down Your Tasks
Whether it’s finishing that presentation deck, or just responding to an email, write down everything both big and small that must get done today. It will be easier to visualize your tasks, and you'll feel more in control. (FYI, more control = less stressed out.) Then, tackle each assignment starting with the hardest one. As you work your way down the list, you can look forward to simpler tasks toward the end. (Bonus: Who doesn't love the feeling of crossing off items on a to-do list?!)
Pack Healthy Snacks
It's easy to grab the free office muffins in the morning, or consume a sugary coffee drink in the afternoon when you didn't have time to grab lunch. Instead, make it easier to fight your cravings by fueling up on heart-healthy foods. Keep DIY energy baggies stashed in your desk drawers. For an idea that will last all week and doesn't need refrigeration, try this trail mix combo: Almonds, pretzels, coconut flakes, and a handful of chocolate chips.
Clear Your Head With Exercise
If you’re one of the lucky few who can squeeze in a treadmill session during your lunch break, then power to you! If you’re like most of us who can’t escape for an hour during the day, not to worry—Even just a quick walk around the block can help clear your head. In fact, regular walking can lower your risk of blood pressure and improve your mood. Yep, it literally pays to step away from your desk!
Focus On “Me-Time”
Can't get out of the office at all? Even just putting on mood-boosting music, stretching, and practicing breathing techniques can do wonders for your anxiety. Log-out of your email, and shut off your work phone for 15 minutes. Do something you enjoy, whether that's online shopping, chatting or texting with a friend, or simply closing your eyes. Friday suddenly feels a lot closer now, doesn't it? So, sit up straight in your chair, and let's conquer whatever the day throws at us.
Emma DiLallo is a copywriter living in Chicago (but reps her NYC roots). She is always down for catching live music and eating sushi 7 days a week.