There is no denying that a bit of pressure can work as an incentive to reach our objectives and get tasks done. But it is also true that excessive strain can leave us feeling both frustrated and anxious, ultimately paving the way to burnout.
The concept that people are able to thrive under pressure was shaped by two American psychologists in 1908. Their idea is perfectly represented by the graph below, which highlights the relationship between performance and stress.
When you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, take a look at the graph and consider where you and your colleagues sit on the performance-pressure curve. Is your productivity being impacted? What about your mental health?
Here, we explore some simple ways in which you can build recovery into your working day. If stress levels are having a negative impact on your performance, follow these three tips to help you to rest and recover.
Take control of your work-life balance
Recent events have disrupted and revolutionised the way in which we go about our working lives. On one side, those carrying out their job duties from home may find it difficult to detach at the end of the day. On the other, employees going into work may feel equally as worn out.
How can you recover after a challenging day at work? It is fair to say that the decisions we make both at the start and end of the shift can have a decisive impact. Being strict with how you organise your work-life balance can be tough, but it is the best way to set aside some precious time for rest and recovery. You only need to make a few practical tweaks to your diary to ensure that you enjoy your free time with a calmer mind.
If you are working remotely, you may want to consider separating your workspace from your living space. From choosing a specific, designated workspace to switching off your work laptop each evening, you can find ways to actively unplug from the pressures of your job.
If you commute to work, why not listen to an entertaining podcast on your way to the office? Likewise, as you get home after a busy day, treat yourself to a gentle yoga session or a relaxing bath.
Make sure to always maintain your all-important work-life balance. In this respect, managers should also promote and remind their staff about the importance of downtime.
Schedule relaxation time into your workday
There is nothing saying that work and recovery time should be kept separate. Instead, research shows that many workers find it difficult to stay concentrated and efficient throughout the whole day. Therefore, why not include some relaxation time between tasks in your work diary so you can refocus your mind?
Louise Rusk, co founder of Cowberry Home, had the following to say on the importance of sleep:
“Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for our well-being, productivity, and livelihood. More often than not, we tend to sleep less than our bodies need, and that can affect our everyday performance.
“But what’s the optimal amount of sleep that can ensure a healthy and balanced lifestyle? The ideal amount depends on our age. The research by the University of Cambridge and Shanghai’s Fudan University showed that people aged 38 to 73 should be aiming for exactly seven hours of sleep.
There are plenty of 10-minute workouts that you can enjoy pretty much anywhere. If you need to refuel, find a quiet corner and recharge your batteries.
Do you work in the retail or manufacturing sector? If you do not have time to unwind during your shift, there are numerous stress-relief techniques you can embrace. For instance, giving your hands a massage will effectively alleviate tension in your joints and ligaments. Likewise, breathing exercises can have a calming effect on your body. It is one of the oldest tricks in the book – but it works!
You may find that additional stresses prevent you from relaxing, such as those about potential health issues. In this case, you could consider a private health care plan. Having a policy that allows you to get fast access to private treatment should you need it can give you precious peace of mind, which could help you relax more.
Streamline your to-do list with the Eisenhower Matrix
Jotting down a to-do list can help you prioritise what’s important. The Eisenhower Matrix is excellent for creating space in your mind, as it is a popular technique that allows you to organise your workload and tidy up a hectic schedule.
Based on their importance and urgency, sort your upcoming tasks into the four different quadrants. By collocating tasks in the ‘do’, ‘schedule’, ‘delegate’, and ‘delete’ boxes, the matrix helps you plan your day and decrease feelings of stress.
You may even want to consider colour-coding your duties to distinguish the pressing ones from the less urgent tasks. As mentioned, make sure to take a break between tasks and avoid spending too much time on any quadrant. Ultimately, this will make your workday both more efficient and effective.