Natural ways to combat stress at work


Stress at work may be unavoidable, but that is not to say that it can’t be managed and reduced. Stress not only affects one well-being mentally and physically but also productivity when it comes to getting the job done.

There are a few things that can be implemented in the workplace to help reduce stress at work and boost productivity in the process. Whether you work from home or own/manage a business you will find all these tips useful.

Numerous studies have shown that increased levels of stress at the workplace or felt by employees out side of work, reduce productivity and affecting Corporate wellness. By investing in workers’ mental health and overall well-being productivity in the workplace will increase.


Nature in the Workplace

Proving employees with contact with nature during their workday can improve mental and physical health, reduce stress and cut back on sick days. As humans, we respond more positively to a natural environment compared to an urban or industrial one. Environmental psychologists have found that when people are surrounded by nature or in view of it they have great mental well-being as well as a reaction in stress. Indoor plants, windows that look out onto greenery, have a positive benefit. There is an added benefit to indoor plants as they clean the air and reduce airborne pollutants. With a third of the day spent indoors at work, it is important to bring greenery into the work place.

Having plants around work desks can provide a somewhat restorative property to the mind. Having green workspaces or meeting rooms, even a green wall or several plants in an eating area can provide a great amount of mental relief, which will not only aid in reducing burnout but also mental fatigue.


Stretch your body

Taking some time to stretch or move around can help bring energy back into the body and reduce fatigue. Burn out is real. Focus and concentration can begin to lag after an hour. Stretching every hour for a minute or two can help increase concentration, reduce mental strain and stress.

With an increase in the prevalence of lower back pain (LBP) stretching or just standing up out of a seated position can help reduce the pain many workers experience as well as reducing the number of sick days taken due to LBP. Stretching or even short standing breaks have been shown to greatly reduce symptoms of LBP.

Sedentary work has been shown to increase chronic disease and can increase the number of sick days taken off due to muscular pain and discomfort. Breaking up the workday with light walking, standing-sitting desks and short active breaks such as the ones taken by engineers in Toyota can help reduce pain, mental fatigue and burn out.


Meditate – A Mindful way to Reduce Stress and Increase Work Efficiency

Meditation and practicing mindfulness has been shown to increase attention and awareness for the job at hand. Nurses who practise mindfulness were shown to be more attentive to their patients, they were also shown to have reduced stress and suffer from less burnout while on the job.

Transcendental meditation has been shown to positively boost workers productivity. It also increased their satisfaction with their work as well as boost coworker morale and teamwork.

Modern Meditation Training is used to improve productivity and performance in the workplace as well as boosting the happiness, well-being and mental health of employees. Modern Meditation Training is a meditation practise done by employees and management at some point during the workday. Bringing this practice to work makes individuals more accountable to partake in the meditation and reap the benefits as a result. The addition of Modern Meditation in the workplace was also shown to reduce the number of sick days and missed days of work.

Having employees and management practise and partake in mindfulness exercises  leads to improved productivity as well as mental well-being. Studies have shown that mindfulness practises at the workplace are associated with lower incidence of burnout, more manageable stress levels, improved mental health and an improvement in team working.


Have a Cup of Tea

A warm cup of tea can make a world of difference. Choosing matcha, holy basil, lemon balm or Rhodiola teas can help with reducing stress and anxiety as well as bringing on a sense of calmness. Taking time out of the workday to enjoy making tea and drinking it can also be very calming. Adding a tea station into the break room or moving away from coffee and towards teas can be a great way to reduce anxiety and stress.

Matcha is a great source of l-theanine, which aids in reducing stress and calming the mind, however, the effect is only noted in true ceremonial matcha and not culinary matcha or other powdered green teas.

Holy basil is great at improving cognitive performance as well as reducing stress. Holy basil also known as Tulsi is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine for its calming and relaxing properties.


Adding Adaptogens Into The Work Routine

Adaptogens help the body better adapt and handle daily stressors. They can be herbs, mushrooms, roots and certain berries. Adaptogens include maca, ashwagandha, astragalus, ginseng, goji berries, Rhodiola, reishi mushrooms, and schizandra berries to name a few.

Certain adaptogens are neuroprotective, balance hormones and reduce fatigue and depression. They work on a cellular level bringing the body into a state of homeostasis as well as a state of increased tolerance to daily stresses. Rhodiola is beneficial at reducing depression as well as preventing fatigue and improving cognitive function under stressful situations. In a study Rhodiola was found to benefit burnout patients who experienced excessive fatigue, allowing them to increase their mental performance and improve their ability to focus on the task at hand.  Adding an adaptogen into the office work routine can relieve the effects of stress on the body and increase performance.

Offering adaptogenic teas or herbal latte blends in the break room can work wonders. Even scheduling a wellness talk to educate employees on the benefits of adaptogens and healthier living inside and outside of work can be a wonderful way to get employees and management involved and educated about what they can do to reduce and manage their stress levels.


Do Yoga on Work Breaks

 Yoga does wonders for the body, mind and spirit. Yoga has been shown to reduce stress levels in medical students over a six week period. It also enhanced feelings of calmness and improved focus and endurance. The medical students found themselves to be happier and able to continue with their work and studies all the while experiencing less stress.

Practising yoga has also been shown to reduce stress, burnout and back pain as well as improve mental well-being when implemented at the workplace. A study that looked at implementing yoga in the workplace to reduce the number of sick days taken by workers at government offices in Britain found that stress and back pain were greatly improved as well as mental well-being and happiness.

About the Author:

Amanda Filipowicz is a certified nutritional practitioner (CNP) with a bachelor in environmental studies (BES) from York University. She also has certification in clinical detoxification, prenatal and postnatal care as well as nutrition for mental health. She has been working as a nutritionist since 2013 and is a lifelong proponent of eating healthy

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