Life is stressful enough without allowing the physical
environment – air quality, lighting, noise, and other
controllable factors – to intensify day-to-day stress.
Especially in the Fall and Winter is where you experience less
daylight and more mood swings.
The great thing about environmental stress is that in most
cases we can control what is in our environment that is causing
the stress. Take these five steps to eliminate environmental
stressors that might cause stress and tension in your work and
1. Increase your activities during natural light.
Natural light elevates the mood and helps maintain a regular
internal body “clock”. Especially during the fall and winter we
experience a substantial decrease in natural daylight. If
you’re indoors, try working next to a window and allow as much
sunlight as possible to enter your space. If you work in an
office without windows try buying a natural sunlight lamp
(http://www.wackyplanet.com/natsunlam.html). These lamps can
help with Seasonal Affective Disorders as they provide a natural
sunlight spectrum for health and well being. Prolonged exposure
to artificial lighting in any setting can be an environmental
2. Ban tobacco smoke.
Constant exposure to tobacco smoke and its toxins can be a
persistent environmental stressor and lead to respiratory
problems and other symptoms.
3. Evaluate your furniture arrangement.
Arrange your furniture so that you don’t feel cramped.
Remember you are more productive in a relaxed environment.
Also, is your furniture arranged so that you inviting constant
interruptions from visitors? If you can, move your furniture
from the line of sight of potential visitors so that you can
focus better, accomplish your goals, and decrease stress.
4. Frequently Change Your Ventilation or Air Filters.
Your office or home is full of ingredients found in
cleaning supplies, upholstery, carpeting, adhesives, and in
chemicals. Devices such as copy machines, printers and
computers all contribute to poor air quality. Combine that with
working in an office building where you can’t open windows it
makes the situation ten times worst for the occupants. In
extreme cases, individuals may become physically ill from these
pollutants, and even moderate doses can cause coughing, a
scratchy, burning throat, and other symptoms.
If you are concerned about poor air quality in the office speak
with the building maintenance crew and see how often they change
the air filters. In most cases, if you explain in a friendly
why you are concerned they will make an extra effort to change
at least the filter in your area. Also you can buy a personal
air filtration kit at any appliance store to make your life
easier. Open windows At home to allow air circulation. Also
frequently change your home air filter.
5. “Bring the Green In.”
This is a term my wife, Joy Fisher-Sykes, uses to say that
natural colors make us more relaxed. Color has effect on your
mood and energy level. It is generally agreed that blue and
green are very relaxing colors. On a personal basis these might
not be the colors that relax you. You decide on the amount of
color you’re comfortable with and the shades that most appeal to
you. For example, bright yellow would tend to irritate me it may
work just fine for others because of its brightness. Experiment
with colors that will work to minimize stress for you.
Remember, these are all environmental factor that you can
change to work for you. Just recognize what works for you and
take the first steps to decrease stress.