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Feeling overwhelmed at work? – Six exercise activities to help you de-stress

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Recently, I’ve been flat out with work as half the sky continues to go from strength to strength – I find myself inundated with client meetings, presentations and trying to hire new staff. It has left me feeling, swamped, stressed, and sometimes feeling down.   

The late nights in the office the back to back meetings has left me feeling like I barely have time to breathe – I realised that work stress is getting to me and leaving me feeling fatigued, irritable and unable to concentrate.

My solution to feeling overwhelmed? I left the office early and went for a walk around the beautiful Marina Bay. I was thinking out loud half the time, clearing my mind and just working through all the things that I could do. I probably looked like a crazy person.

However, after 30 mins, I was back at work and getting stuff done.

I realised, it’s not unusual to get overwhelmed we all go through it. The trick is to find a way to reset quickly, so you can recover and get back to what you need to do.

I’ve always found the best way to overcome workplace stress is to exercise. Here are my six exercise activities – that help me overcome feeling overwhelmed and get me back to my productive best.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT):

Unfortunately, many people feel that they don't have enough time to exercise If this sounds like you, maybe it's time to try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). For me it’s the perfect gym activity to offload all that work stress. One of the biggest advantages of HIIT is that you can get maximal health benefits in minimal time. Being able to get in and out of the gym in under an hour.

Yoga:

Signs and symptoms of excessive workplace stress include fatigue, inability to concentrate, loss of interest in work tasks, muscle tension, headaches, and general anxiety and irritability. Symptoms we have all gone through at one time or another at work – a good Yoga session allows me to zone out for an hour and concentrate on the things that really matter – relieving tension that can build up. I always feel yoga is best for rebooting my drive and it dramatically improves my mood. Namaste!

Running:

Same idea here, when life gets crazy, I put on my running shoes and go for a run – not only do I get a chance to think over problems and issues at work – whilst soaking up the views along my route around the beautiful Marina Bay– I keep myself fit and hopefully lose weight feeling energised and clear sighted on the problems I need to address.

Boxing:

This solution is definitely my favourite when dealing with stress – especially when you’ve gone through a tough week of being rejected by clients or being made to feel that you’re not good enough. Boxing has a rep as a boys' sport, but I love strapping on my gloves and getting into the proverbial ring. Beyond the fact that the workout delivers a one-two punch (that would be cardio plus strength training), it's a fool-proof way to relieve stress. Its also great in getting you in the zone to push yourself to the limit and build resilience and toughness in the competitive and sometimes cut throat business world.

Spinning class:

Not an activity I can do everyday as it is truly gruelling and takes me awhile to recover but getting on the bike alongside some thumping music gets me motivated to tackle any problems I have at work– “A study published in 2015 in the Journal of Mental Health found that taking an indoor cycling ride at home or in an instructor-led class improves your post-exercise mood while diminishing negative emotions”.

Indoor rock climbing:

This workout solution is mixed with adventure and adrenaline and the beauty of this activity is you gain a greater understanding of yourself as you overcome fears and anxiety as you climb to the top. I always find this activity sharpens my concentration, decision-making, planning, and strategizing skills – alongside working muscles I never thought I had.

Concluding Thoughts

When work is overwhelming or the stress becomes unmanageable, ask yourself, “Do I want to feel like this?” If you answer no be mindful to find an activity to help you overcome those difficult moments.

To avoid bitterness and eventual burnout, understand that whatever you choose to do with your career and your life has to lead to your own well-being. Only you can decide what’s best for you.

With all that happens in today's workplaces, it is easy to let stress get the best of you. Learn how to be resilient to work-related stress, but please, please don’t ignore it.

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half the sky (HTS) is a career platform for women in Asia. We connect women to career opportunities at companies that care. We also want to equip you with information, tips and strategies to navigate the workplace today and the future.

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