Help workers to de-stress, even during the workday

Getting the majority of employees to become diehard practitioners of yoga or meditation might be somewhat of a stretch. However, you can help anyone to utilize simple "de-stressers" during the workday.

"It's no exaggeration to say that today's workforce is over-stimulated," says Brian Luke Seaward, PhD, executive director of the Paramount Wellness Institute in Boulder, CO. "Suffering from sensory bombardment is one prime reason for stress at the worksite."

Loss of attention span, sarcasm, mental fatigue, cynicism, apathy, and rudeness are just some of the ways that stress makes itself known among employees, says Seaward. He says that employees should be encouraged to do the following:

• Establish healthy boundaries with technology.

A never-ending supply of e-mails, social media sites and text message can become a distraction to getting quality work done. Seaward suggests advising workers to "pull in the reins" in how they utilize these communications.

• Become "multi-lingual" with to communications.

Seaward notes that many stressors at the workplace result from communication problems. "While younger people seem to thrive on multitasking with social media, people in their mid 30s and older often find this annoying," he says.

He says to choose the best form of communication with each person, and "never underestimate the power of face-to-face conversations."

• Make time to exercise each day, even if it's simply walking.

"The human body was never meant to sit at a desk, computer, or workstation all day," says Seaward. "Physical exercise helps flush out the stress hormones that can wreak havoc on various internal organs and the immune system when it lingers for hours or days in the body."

Low-cost approaches

"While meditation rooms and exercise gyms are ideal, they are not essential to inner peace at the worksite," says Seward. "Good stress management techniques can be done anywhere, at any time." He gives these simple examples that employees can do:

  • Close your eyes for 3-4 minutes and focus on nothing more than your breathing. "Try to make each breath comfortably slow and deep," says Seaward.
  • Close your eyes for 3-4 minutes and imagine a beach scene or mountain range.
  • Get up out of your chair and walk over to the water cooler.

"Drink a glass of water — not soda, not tea, not coffee or flavored water — simply water," says Seaward. "Many people today are walking around dehydrated."

Plug in some earphones and listen to one relaxing instrumental piece of music for a few minutes. "Music is great way to calm the nerves," says Seaward.

[For more information on reducing stress in the workplace, contact:

Carol Filkins, MS, Certified Wellness Coach, Ceridian Health & Productivity Solutions, Plymouth Meeting, PA. Phone: (800) 290-4311 ext. 5212. E-mail: carol.filkins@ceridian.com.

Brian Luke Seaward, PhD, Paramount Wellness Institute, Boulder, CO. E-mail: brianlukes@cs.com. Web: www.brianlukeseward.]