Stress has become a hindrance to employee engagement in the modern workplace.

Recent studies have shown that stress costs American businesses an estimated $300 billion annually, and leads to more than one million workers missing work each day.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to tackling work-related stress, we’ve compiled a few ideas that can be easily tailored to your workforce and put into action:

Carve out time to take walks

It’s no secret that sitting for lengthy periods of time is detrimental to your health. And these days, employees across industries are feeling the ill effects from leading a sedentary lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of Americans spend more than eight hours per day sitting.

One way you can combat this trend and manage stress at work at the same time, is to take short exercise breaks throughout the day. In addition to physical benefits, taking walks can help you concentrate, increase your creativity, and lift your mood.

Limit the time you spend on email

With the seemingly unending onslaught of messages we receive daily, our relationship with email is taxing. The average professional spends a staggering 44 percent of the workday reading and responding to emails.

But if you stop what you’re doing every time a message lands in your inbox, your productivity suffers, which could end up impairing your performance. The solution? Resist the urge to check your email all day and put in place email automation letting people know you are out. Next, block off specific windows of time to sift through your inbox and reply to messages. Personally, I block out chucks of time each week and always set up an automatic reply letting people know I’ll get back to them soon. This helps me focus.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

We face enough stress in life without putting more pressure on ourselves at work. Although it may seem like a good idea to slip into perfectionistic habits, there’s a better way to deliver without setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.

You can start by making a conscious effort to pay attention to how you feel towards the end of the day and taking a careful look at your life to see if you have enough time to maintain regular self-care activities. By focusing on your own needs, you’ll be able to reach your goals more effectively without losing momentum.

Don’t eat lunch at your desk

It’s estimated that up to two-thirds of office professionals eat at their desk during the working day. While multitasking your way through lunch may seem like the most efficient way to get through your workload, it can have a negative impact on your productivity levels.

Lunchtime is the perfect opportunity to unwind, reset, and give yourself some much-needed breathing room outside of the office. That way, you can return to your desk feeling more motivated and level-headed. 

Exercise before work or after

When you’re overly focused on work, your health becomes an afterthought. But when you treat yourself with good nutrition and frequent exercise, you’re more resilient to stress.

This doesn’t require a total lifestyle overhaul, however. For maximum stress relief, try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your routine either before or after work.

Cut back on coffee consumption

If you always start off your day with caffeine, you’re not alone. The average office worker drinks more than three cups of coffee per day. While coffee helps to boost your energy, too much of it can be harmful.

A gradual way to scale back your consumption is by diluting your coffee with extra water or milk. If you simply enjoy the act of sipping a beverage while working, you can replace your coffee with nutrient-rich juices or even hot teas with lower caffeine levels.

Don’t overbook yourself

Dealing with an overbooked schedule can be extremely draining and stressful. One of the hallmarks of an overfilled calendar is not having enough time to take care of your personal affairs.

To ensure you allot yourself enough time to decompress, avoid scheduling things back-to-back or trying to cram too many meetings into one day. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “ought to” and the “have to.”

Putting into practice

Changing a pattern of behavior isn’t always easy. But you can start by concentrating on the things you have control over.

Implementing these practices can help you better navigate the ups and downs of your workday and make even the most high-stress weeks a bit more manageable. With the right amount of preparation and the occasional break, you’ll be ready to take on anything!