It can be notoriously difficult to feel relaxed in the workplace, especially in the run-up to summer holidays. Has everything been organized? Are the kids ready? Am I leaving my work up to date and all tasks completed? If you aren’t taking vacations, then it can be even worse as you see others posting bikini shots on beaches all over Instagram.
Working in Hong Kong also means that you probably work in an extremely pressured environment, with long hours, tight deadlines and often difficult relationships with a confusing management structure. Not to mention adjusting to living far from home and loved ones can affect our physical and mental wellbeing.
To say that we spend a third of our lives at work, how can we minimise stress?
Exercise, meditation and yoga
It sounds obvious and the typical response to people who are suffering from stress. However, studies show that yoga is a fantastic antidote to stress. The breathing techniques that yoga can teach you mean that your body feels revitalized and your thoughts become calmer. Try to find a class that incorporates a meditation section at the end to get the best of both worlds. Exercising regularly, whether it is simply taking a walk or running 10k, means that your body is flooded with endorphins, raising your happiness levels. Plus, you will find you are too exhausted to overthink situations at work.
Take a communication skills class
If you are worried about how to communicate with your boss over a sensitive topic such as a pay rise or renegotiating your relocation package, or you feel that your relations with your colleagues could be better, then why not consider taking a communication skills class? Communication skills classes should not only teach you how to communicate better, but also how to read other peoples’ indicators, such as body language, gestures and facial expressions.
Let go of pay worries
The problem with being an expat in Hong Kong is that it is quite difficult to avoid other expats and their salaries. Whether it is colleagues or friends, a certain level of boasting goes on with regards to packages and benefits. If you feel that your worries have some base and are not just everyday concerns, then don’t wait to speak to your boss about it. Schedule a meeting about it and air your concerns. Even if the outcome is not what you expected, you will certainly feel better for talking about it.
Practice staying calm
If you find that you get easily worked up or even that you have a shorter than average fuse these days, then this is where practicing mindfulness can come in handy. Stress means a spike in cortisol and that means your ability to think clearly is entirely clouded. Often people cope with stress by developing another persona behind their work one, a self that is calm, detached and not at all preoccupied by work stresses. If that sounds too much like hard work, then you can try any number of breathing, meditation or mindfulness exercises. Thankfully, we live in a saturated market these days so there is plenty of choice, but we recommend Calm. The app has plenty of meditation techniques for sleeping better and reducing stress. Although the app isn’t free, it is a worthy investment if you find it hard to make time for classes.
See a doctor
Work stress is entirely normal and we cope with it in different ways, whether that is a glass of wine of an evening or a night out with friends. However, if you find that your behaviour is becoming unpredictable and one glass of wine a night is rapidly turning into a whole bottle, then it might be worth booking an appointment with your doctor. They might be able to help with therapy, medication, counselling or behavioural therapy.