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De-stress Your Year-End Deadlines!

As the end of the year (or even quarter) gets closer every day, you may find your stress levels ramping up more and more. It’s only natural that you feel more stressed the closer a big deadline looms.

So how can you take out some of the stress? Here are eight tried-and-true ways to combat the cortisol!

Organize

Sure, it sounds easy until you look at the state of your desk and inbox, but organizing your space helps center your mind, making it easier to focus. It’s well documented that a space that looks chaotic will breed chaos and an organized space helps clear your head of distractions. Keeping things tidy also makes it easier to find what you need when you reach for a pen or post-it note in the middle of working out a problem.

Even if you need to take temporary measures such as creating paperwork piles to better sort and file later, any bit of organizing will give you a noticeable boost in productivity.

Move

Sitting in one place, especially for hours on end, is enough to increase your stress levels and cut back your productivity. Getting up and moving will help you feel more awake and alert, sharpening your mind by pumping more oxygen to the brain. While ideally you are getting at least five minutes of elevated pulse every hour, try to at least do some stretching and a quick walk around the building.

Morning people, try to sneak in a quick jog or jumping jacks first thing in the morning. It will help get your endorphins flowing and will increase productivity through the entire day. For those of us who are not morning people can benefit from a 30 minute gym session right after work. You’ll sleep better, and better sleep means less stress!

Sleep

As mentioned, sleep is a necessity for us every day and more so when we are battling the way stress can impact our bodies. For some reason we tend to think that by getting less sleep and spending more time working, we are benefiting ourselves. In reality, the more sleep deprived you are, the longer it takes for even simple tasks, which means you could be less productive by staying up an extra two hours than if you had gotten that extra sleep and returned to the tasks in the morning.

We should be sleeping at least six hours a day. Anything less than that puts your heart at risk for cardiovascular disease and makes you less productive and mentally alert.

Work can wait when your health is on the line!

Delegate

Most of us worry about handing off parts of a project when you know there isn’t time to fix it if the other person does it wrong. By forcing yourself to delegate even only a few items, you take that much pressure off yourself. Take a moment to prioritize tasks and hand the easiest few off to someone else. You’ll find yourself breathing easier with every item taken off your plate!

Just remember, delegating can be hard, but by not delegating, you can be degrading the quality of your work.

Make A List

One way to help organize your thoughts and make tasks seem more manageable is to make a list. Once everything is in front of you on the page, it likely won’t seem as intimidating and overwhelming.

It also helps you plan on how to move forward from any point and gives you the satisfaction of crossing an item off when it’s complete.

Mediate

When we mediate, we allow our minds to re-frame our emotional reactions to stimuli such as stress. Take a few minutes to allow your mind to take some time off and make room for what you are feeling. Sometimes you can even find new ways to attack a sticky point in a project by taking a few minutes to clear your head of the issue. If you’re new to meditation, there are many helpful guided meditations on YouTube. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll wonder how you ever got anything done without it!

Binaural Beats

In addition to meditation, you can find binaural beats for concentration and focus on YouTube. Binaural beats are a form of soundwave healing that helps your mind focus, decreases stress and anxiety, increases concentration and boosts creativity among other things. Use headphones to listen for greater impact!

As a bonus, binaural beats can be used as often as you would like and do not interfere with medications. You can use them for better sleep, increased concentration and more energy, all depending on what type of wave frequencies are used!

Eat Dark Chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate? By choosing to snack on chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher, your body will trigger endorphins in your brain to help you fight stress, and also combat the stress hormone cortisol.

What are some of your favorite ways to combat stress?