4 ways to combat workplace stress
Over the last decade or so, the International Labor Organization has used April 28 of each year to celebrate World Day for Safety and Health at Work. For the 2016 edition, the theme is "Workplace Stress: a collective challenge." Though some level is a normal part of life, stress in the workplace can have a significant impact on your life. A 2006 survey from the Anxiety Disorders Association of America found that 40 percent of workers experience stress daily, and 72 percent of that group indicated that it interferes with their ability to function. The Mayo said that if untreated that stress can manifest in a number of health conditions, including headaches, muscle tension, insomnia, chest pain and anxiety.
"Over 40% of workers experience stress daily."
Stress doesn't have to be like an overwhelming boss, and it's easy to handle these feelings in stride. Follow these four easy tips to manage stress in the workplace:
1. Identify your stressors
Stress is a systemic condition, and the best way to treat it is to recognize its origins. According to The American Institute of Stress, there are four main causes of work-related stress:
- Personnel issues.
- Maintaining work-life balance.
- Minimal job security.
Not all stress is born of these issues, but enough people experience it this way to merit an exploration of how they affect your life. Once you understand just where these feelings come from, you can implement a more targeted approach.
2. Find better ways to respond
For some workers, a stressful day inevitably ends with a carton of ice cream or a greasy cheeseburger. As the American Psychological Association pointed out, people need to instead create better coping mechanisms. That could mean going out for a run, practicing some yoga, reading or writing out your feelings, and spending time with family or friends. No matter what you do, avoid harmful behaviors like bad food or smoking and drinking. It's these reactions that can ultimately have the most detrimental effect on your health.
3. Don't push yourself too hard
As a means of getting out of work that much faster, many workers think they have to work full throttle the entire eight hours. Business psychologist Sharon Melnick told Forbes magazine that kind of intensity can bring down productivity and increase stress. She said more people need to take short, regular breaks, be it stretching at your desk or simply walking around the office. She added that if you work in 90-minute blocks, taking a break in between, you can reduce stress and work more efficiently.
4. Change up your attitude
At work as in life, you don't have any say over other people's emotions or behavior. You can, however, control your own responses, and Psych Central suggested using that power to change your perceptions. For instance, focus on the things you love about your job; this will help you emphasize the positives and minimize negative feelings. If you think something at work causes your stress, try tackling the task another way. Even small changes in your routine can help address your stressors. Finally, make sure to collaborate with or spend lunch time around people you enjoy. Their presence can be a great way to reduce stress and focus more on work.
Even with all the preventive measures in the world, stress can still influence your health. If you start to feel under the weather, be sure to head to your nearest CareWell Urgent Care Center. Once there, a highly trained team of doctors can treat most minor illnesses, including tension headaches and muscle soreness.