10/10/2013 08:27 EDT | Updated 12/10/2013 05:12 EST

Three Simple Ways to Leave Workday Stress Behind You

Chronic workplace stress is on the rise and companies and people are feeling its effects.

The link between stress and illness is well-studied and documented. When we are stressed, we are even more susceptible to the common cold, fatigue and back pain, just to name a few. Chronic stress is something we can all shift if we try. As someone who deals with clients with stress on a regular basis, I have seen it all.I have formulated a list of three easy suggestions for you to start to leave stress behind.

1. Recognize that your passion for work is honoured and appreciated. Know that you will be a better, more efficient worker if you can spend the evening focused on you, your family and your loved ones. Shut the emails down, turn off your cell phone and give yourself that much needed break. We have a notion that if we are working harder, we will get bigger accolades. Many of us do this from a personal belief that we are not good enough. As a result, we are compensating for this false pre-tense and working overtime. What happens to most of us is that we are checking emails nightly and returning phone calls well after-hours. Eventually, we end up depleted and exhausted. Before we know it, we end up resenting our workplace and resist opening our email accounts. This ends up only sabotaging ourselves and can be a precursor to chronic stress and depletion.

2. Make exercise a must. Most people find every reason why they won't make it to the gym. Many people have access to gym memberships but never use them. Design a no choice strategy where exercise of some sort is a part of your routine. It does not have to be anything fancy. Even going out for a 20 minute walk can re-charge the cells and leave you feeling great. It may be that you walk on your way home or commute to and from work to increase the exercise part of your life.

3. Have fun -- especially on a weekday. For so many people, work is Monday to Friday and fun is a weekend affair. When you were a child, fun was an everyday affair. Just because you are older does not mean that fun is a foreign word. Doing something fun even once during the week can completely alter your mind-set. So many of us are married to our jobs more than we are wedded to our partners. Take a date night or get together with some friends. Go to a comedy club or simply take a walk in the park. Any extra fun activity will break up the routine and can be life-giving.

So many of us associate work with drudgery and stress. It does not have to be this way. Our work is our outlet for connection with other people and hopefully it is something that you enjoy doing. We all want to be productive and efficient in our workplaces, but sometimes lack of self care can actually cause ourselves more problems.

These three simple techniques are easy to apply. Regardless of the season, we can enjoy our work and even enjoy our lives. With regular application, you will feel better. Just like anything, it takes a minimum of 21 days to create a new habit. So, take on the resolution today, and start the small changes towards creating new structures in your life. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain! Imagine what your life would be like with less stress and a greater sense of well-being.

The Most Stressful Jobs in Canada