Take a quick check: are your shoulders creeping up around your ears? Are your teeth grinding? And is that nagging headache nagging you again? More than a quarter of employees report being highly stressed at work. Check out these useful tips to manage work-related stress.
An epidemic of stress
Is it getting harder and harder to decompress after another busy day at work? Do you also find yourself having to physically realign your neck, back and shoulders or searching for relief from yet another stress-related headache?
Sad thing is: you’re not alone. More than one in four people feel a high level of stress at their workplaces. Millions of people feel their lives are extremely stressful on a day-to-day basis.
It’s a lose-lose situation for everyone concerned. Workers feeling high levels of stress suffer health-related issues, and their employers lose productivity because of absenteeism, reduced work output, employee turnover and increased disability claims.
Some health risks of prolonged stress
- heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- gastrointestinal problems (heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome)
- substance abuse
Some signs that you’re stressed
- muscle tension
- sleep issues (teeth grinding, restlessness, insomnia)
- stomach and digestive problems
- skin rashes
- sexual dysfunction
- increased use of alcohol or cigarettes
- over- and undereating
- mood swings, irritability
- withdrawal, avoidance
- poor concentration, racing thoughts
Reduce your stress today
There is hope! Thankfully, there are many research-backed strategies you can employ to help lower your stress levels—including some that you can start right now.
Some tips to help reduce stress
- Avoid gossip and negative thinking.
- Engage in positive self-talk.
- Make to-do lists and prioritize.
- Avoid procrastinating.
- Eat whole, healthy foods and drink water.
- Avoid caffeine, sugar and cigarettes!
- Know your limits—say no when workloads become unrealistic.
- Schedule “me” time—and stick to your schedule!
- Exercise regularly—use the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Stay positive.
- Practice mindfulness, yoga or meditation.
- Keep your problems in perspective.
- Get outside in nature.
Don’t catch someone else’s stress
Did you know that workers who aren’t stressed by their work can actually be affected by stress brought into the work environment by their co-workers? This phenomenon, called second-hand stress, can be as contagious as a cold or flu virus. Unfortunately, there’s no quick cure for second-hand stress.
Some tips to help avoid second-hand stress
- Recognize signs of stress in others and learn to regulate your response by practicing stress management techniques.
- Offer support to friends, family and workmates; the better they can cope, the less chance there is of sharing in their stress.
- Tell the other person how their mood is affecting you, and be willing to help as long as it doesn’t increase your stress further.
- Reserve time for yourself; having a break and doing something you enjoy will help relieve tension.