By Nourish Intern Eileen Kugler
After 4 months of working from home, many of us are beginning to get the O.K. to return to our offices. Following an initial adjustment, we have all been able to find the positives in spending more time at home whether it be more time with our families or just not having to deal with traffic and the thought of returning to your old routine can be very stressful. Developing strategies to reduce and manage the stress will help your transition back to the office move more smoothly for both you and your family.
Here are 4 strategies to prevent stress:
1. Keep your Routine. Maintaining a routine helps decrease the feeling of chaos which can make your whole family stressed. Talk to your family about how returning to work will upset their current routine and determine ways you can work together to reduce the changes.
2. Plan Ahead. During quarantine many of us have taken advantage of the extra time at home to try new and time-consuming recipes. As you are you thinking about returning to work, I am sure the idea of preparing healthy and delicious meals after a long day at the office sounds daunting. Planning ahead and meal prepping decreases your time in the kitchen after work without the nutritional value suffering. Meal prepping can also be a fun weekend activity with your family. Try this easy egg muffin recipe for an on the go breakfast.
3. Practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness helps us become aware of our actions and accept them, rather than pass judgment. We can all relate to the old saying “you’re your own worst critic.” These negative thoughts put added pressure on us and can increase the stress in our lives. Mindfulness teaches us to accept our actions and find solutions for them. Check out our blog post on how mindfulness can help with emotional eating.
4. Take Care of Yourself. Remember to continue to take care of your health by eating a balanced meal, getting enough sleep, and participating in regular physical activity. When you are your best self you will better able to support your family through the stress that arises from returning to work.
Here are 3 strategies to help manage stress when it arises:
1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation. This technique helps reduce anxiety by tensing and relaxing different muscles groups. By going through a series of exercises you begin to discover the distinction between tension and relaxation. This technique is especially useful because it can be completed in variety of settings. Check this video for some tips on how to complete the exercise.
2. Diaphragmatic Breathing or Deep Breathing. This technique was traditionally part of different yoga practices and has now become an important technique of many relaxation programs. To practice diaphragmatic breathing, simply sit up right in your chair or lay on the ground with your knees bent. If comfortable, place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Slowly breath in allowing your belly to expand while keeping your chest stable, then slowly release your breath. Some individuals find it helpful to count their breaths to help with consistency.
3. Talk it Out. Social support is very important for helping us to handle difficult situations life throws at us. Having someone to discuss your problems with can actually help increase your self-esteem and improve your ability to handle problems in the future.
Manage stress: Strengthen your support network. (2019, October 8). Retrieved July 29, 2020, from https://www.apa.org/topics/manage-stress-social-support
Mindfulness. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/mindfulness
Varvogli, L., & Darviri, C. (2011). Stress Management Techniques: evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health. Health science journal, 5(2), 74