1. Revisit your morning work routine–The sun rises later in the fall, but instead of grabbing a few extra zzz’s, try to get into the office just 10 minutes earlier than usual this month to reorient yourself to the different working conditions. Take quiet time before your day gets going to do a quick overview of the day’s responsibilities and what the week will bring. You can also use this time to take a few deep breaths before jumping into work.
2. De-clutter your workspace—Take an hour to get rid of all the dust and irrelevant files and papers from your desk. This will give you a nice clean plate, which is pleasing to the brain because it’s less distracting.
3. Evaluate workplace stressors–Spend time considering what’s stressing you out at work. Is it an increased workload? A challenging relationship? Unreasonable deadlines? If there are a couple specific things you can point to, it might be worth a conversation with your manager to try to work them out before things get really busy.
4. Keep a work stress diary—Try to monitor your work stress more closely moving forward. What triggers anxiety and stress that distracts you, making you less effective or productive? On the flip side, what kinds of good stress inspire or motivate you to get those creative juices flowing? Identify the times of the day that you are most stressed, along with those hours when you feel the most creative and alert, and see if there are ways you can adjust your day to better suit your schedule and your energy level. Can you schedule meetings mid-morning, when you’re feeling great? Try to take care of some to-dos in the evening before you leave, so you’re not so stressed when you return to work.
5. Invest in what brings you joy at work–Even if you’re working in a job that you’re not happy with, identify the responsibilities or tasks that give you the most joy. Then, look for 2-3 ways that you can focus more attention on these projects or tasks. Spending time each day focusing on something that brings you meaning and fulfillment is a great way to make all that other stuff feel worthwhile, too.
6. Get your happy mojo on–Studies show that your mindset can have a huge impact on the way you handle stress and how effective you are at work. In a positive mode, your brain is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral, or stressed conditions. Think about what makes you happy and find ways to bring it into work. Refresh your office with new photos of family and friends, bookmark that link to baby animal videos on YouTube and create a few new playlists you can access at work. Those are all great ways to get the good vibes going.
7. Revamp your daily routine–Taking care of your body is one of the best ways to manage your stress levels throughout the day. So try to schedule time in your calendar to stand up, move around, and relax. Plan a midday walk around the building, schedule a few minutes in an office or conference room for deep breathing exercises or brief meditations, and use lunchtime to unwind and connect with colleagues instead of eating at your desk. Better yet, set an alarm every hour to remind yourself to stand up and stretch.