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Build in Ways to Recover from Work Stress

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Stress may be unavoidable in the workplace. But you’ll be better able to handle it if you take steps to recover rather than continuing to power through. If you feel like you’re edging toward burnout, try these strategies.

  • Detach psychologically from work. Dedicate time each day to a non-work-related activity. Learn which triggers prevent you from putting down work, and proactively avoid them. For example, if the presence of your phone prompts you to check work emails during off hours, turn it off or at least shut off notifications temporarily.
  • Take micro-breaks. Short breaks, even just 10 minutes, are surprisingly effective. For example, doing a short meditation, eating a nutritious snack, having a pleasant social interaction, or reading an article can improve motivation and concentration, improve your mood, and help you sustain your energy throughout the day.
  • Prioritize higher-effort activities. Passive activities such as watching TV or listening to a podcast are only so helpful for recovery. Consider going to the gym or playing team sports, or even going for walks, bikes, hikes, or swims; research shows that more active activities are more effective.
  • Build an environment that optimizes recovery. While they may seem minor, small things like having some plants and natural light in your office can have a positive impact on your sleep quality, perceived stress, and overall health.

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