Even if you think you’re doing everything right – regular exercise, meditation, a lunch break – stress can creep up on anyone, clawing its way in with tension, lack of sleep and a feeling of anxiety. Sometimes our surroundings can be a source of stress or it can be from something you consider to be small – but is actually quite big – that is actually irritating your stress levels. Take a look at five reasons for being stressed at work that you can eradicate with a few simple changes. 

You’re Surrounded By Noise

Open office spaces seem to be increasing in popularity, and while there are many positives to their creation – beneficial interactions with co-workers, as one example – they are not for everyone. A study by Jungsoo Kim and Richard de Dear in 2013 found that people working in such an environment were bothered by “lack of sound privacy”, as well as the level of general noise. If you’re someone who struggles to work without peace and quiet, the lack of this might be increasing your stress levels. A 2009 study published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Health Management linked open plan offices to stress and high blood pressure. If you’re a business owner and realize this may be a source of anxiety that is disturbing your workload, consider setting up a separate office. You can still have an ‘open door’ policy that allows people to come and talk to you, but having your door shut when you need to work will unquestionably reduce your stress levels and remove the noise.

You Have Too Much Work For One Person

When you run your own business, it’s easy to try and do everything yourself. You can manage everything solo, right? Wrong. This might be the case as you initially start-up, but as you begin to grow and more and more of your time is being demanded, you need to consider bringing in some help. You can’t do it all and if you try to, it could have an effect on your business and your stability. Many business owners hire a Virtual Assistant, a trained individual that becomes an integral part of your team and helps with tasks virtually, while you concentrate on growing your business. Delegating can be difficult if it is something you’re not used to, but the results you gain from having a skilled VA on your team are very worth it.

You’re Surrounded By Clutter

How is your desk looking? If you frequently lose your mouse or pen beneath a pile of papers/invoices/receipts and are also suffering with a bit of stress, your cluttered space could be causing it. The same can be said for your entire office or home environment. When your atmosphere is messy, it can have an undesirable impact on how you work and increases your stress levels. Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that when your environment is chaotic, the disarray restricts your capability to focus. Your brain is distracted, taking your mind away from your work and intensifying your stress levels. The solution is to tidy your workspace and environment; file papers away, get rid of rubbish and ensure your workstation is clutter free. Do this twice a week, and watch your stress levels reduce.

You’re Consuming The Wrong Things

When you work a late night and are somehow at the office again at 6am, you’re more than likely going to reach for the caffeine, whether in the form of coffee, tea or chocolate. If your stress levels are already elevated through work, caffeine will actually make it worse. They might seem really refreshing and a pick-me-up, but they contain neuro stimulators which can up your stress levels. The same can be said for unhealthy food such as fries and cakes. They may seem harmless but with high levels of carbs and fat with little to no vitamins, stress can be induced through unhealthy foods alone. If stress is becoming a factor in your working week, consider looking at what you’re eating and drinking and change accordingly. Reduce the frequency of your caffeine intake and swap unhealthy snacks for nutritious ones like fruit.

You’ve Forgotten The Concept Of A Weekend Or Vacation

As we covered in our blog 3 Signs You Could Be Overworking’, if it has been some time since you took a vacation or full weekend, you could definitely be overexerting yourself, leading to stress. Breaks allow you to recharge your batteries, spend time with loved ones and come back to the office refreshed. Without regular time off, your body will suffer and the stress you’re feeling could be your body’s way of telling you to slow down and take a break.