Workplace stress is something that many Americans face every day. Our stress levels can rise and fall depending on what’s happening in our lives, but sometimes stress sticks around. Feeling overwhelmed for an extended period is called “long-term” or “chronic” stress, and it can directly impact your physical and mental health. In fact, long-term stress can contribute to developing health problems such as digestive issues, sleeplessness, anxiety, or depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health

While we can’t avoid stress entirely, we can practice self-care habits to help support our mental health. Oftentimes we think self-care is great for after work or for when we have “free time” to spare. However, incorporating self-care into your workday is easier than you think. 

We’ve put together a list of things you can incorporate throughout the day to combat feelings of stress and anxiety as they happen.  

1. Step away for “wellness breaks.”

Whether you set aside one minute or five, don’t hesitate to go for a mini walk or use a meditation app to help reframe your mindset.  Stretching, practicing mindfulness, or taking deep breaths can also help you relax and provide stress relief.  

2. Make a to-do list. 

Create a to-do list of things that must get done today, not things that could be worked on. Tackle your least desirable tasks at the beginning of the day to keep yourself from procrastinating and scrambling to finish a project when the day ends.

3. Identify your triggers. 

We all have different triggers for what makes us feel overwhelmed or anxious in the workplace. Pinpointing what causes your uneasiness will allow you to make an action plan and prepare yourself for the next time around.  

4. Drink water. 

It seems so simple, but we often forget about our basic self-care needs when we’re stressed and busy. Staying hydrated can give you energy and help you stay focused, which will in turn help your stress levels. Drinking enough water can help prevent headaches and improve brain function, too!

5. Take a break for lunch. 

While you might feel “too busy” to step away from your desk, it’s very important that you do. Make the most out of your lunch break by dedicating time to walk outside for a few minutes or by eating your lunch somewhere away from your desk and email.  

We’ve outlined just five of the many ways you can support your mental health at work. If you are having a difficult time managing stress on your own, know that you’re not alone. Reach out to one of our mental health professionals who can share techniques for coping with stress.