What’s the secret to living a long life? Just ask George Burns. “If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity,” the American actor once said, “I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension.”
Burns won an Oscar at age 80, and went on to reach the century mark while joking that his 100th birthday wish was “a night with Sharon Stone.” Talk about being 100 years young!
The importance of sending stress packing
If keeping stress at bay was good enough for Burns, then it should be good enough for the rest of us, right? Trouble is, stress is everywhere in the workplace these days, with 60 percent of Canadian men working more than 40 hours per week, 60 percent working when they are sick or unwell, 46 percent often working extended hours, and 30 percent working while on vacation.
How common is workplace stress? Put all this together, and it’s no wonder 80 percent of men said they were somewhat or very stressed at work, with 60 percent saying work affects their ability to have a proper night’s sleep. The consequences of this can be serious, including a higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression and other mental illnesses, low testosterone and obesity.
Small changes = less stress at work
Making stress-busting changes to your daily workplace routine is surprisingly easy, as these 3 tips show:
No coffee after 3pm
Drinking coffee late in the day can lead to poor sleep owing to caffeine’s stimulatory effect. The easy solution: Avoid drinking it after 3pm! This will help you get the sleep you need to stay mentally sharp.
Take a break from your desk or job site
This can have a positive effect on your mood and provide a jolt of creativity, research shows. If there’s a restaurant, cafe or grocery store a few blocks from your office, walk there for lunch. Eat your meal, then walk back. Even a few minutes of light exercise like this can work wonders on your stress levels, mood and physical health. Another easy option: Head to a calm green space near your office with your lunch in hand. Take a seat on a bench or a patch of grass, close your eyes, and do some deep breathing: Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose — your belly, not your chest, should rise — and then do the same when you exhale. Do this once and you’ll feel better. Do it a few more times and stress and tension will melt away.
More screen breaks for your eyes and brain
These days, taking a break from your desk also stops you from staring at a screen and checking social media. This can be a good thing, as there is growing evidence that links heavy use of electronic devices with mental-health concerns. Low mood and self-esteem, for instance, are associated with failed attempts to take extended breaks from social media. Plus, you can’t joke around with co-workers if you’re staring at a screen all day…
The tips keep coming
More easy ways to be healthier at work are highlighted by Olympic champion Adam Kreek in the new “Gold Medal Office Health Tips” ebook, which you can download here. It’s fun to read, costs nothing…and is 100 percent stress free!