Workplace stress and proactive solutions

Stress

By Joy Stephenson-Laws and the pH health care professionals

Statistics show that many Americans are working harder than ever for less, as productivity and demands skyrocket and wages stagnate. And all this work-related stress is harmful to your health.  A study by researchers at Harvard Business School and Stanford University compares its damage to secondhand smoke. Their report found that high job demands increased the odds of illness diagnosis by 35 percent, and that long work hours increased the chances of early death by almost 20 percent. The stress that comes with worrying you might soon lose your job increased odds of having poor health by around 50 percent.

According to the American Psychological Association, work-related stress can contribute to headaches, stomachaches, sleep problems, short temper and difficulty concentrating. Many people resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking or heavy drinking. Chronic stress can also cause anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system, and can contribute to depression, obesity and heart disease.

The APA cites the following causes of workplace stress: low salaries, excessive workloads, few opportunities for growth/advancement, work that isn’t engaging or challenging, lack of social support, not enough control over job-related decisions, and conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations.

Can you relate?

Take proactive steps to reduce work-related stress:

  • Sip on tea. Research shows black tea affects stress hormone levels in your body. Drinking it daily may help you recover more quickly from stress.
  • Adopt healthy eating habits. It can be easy to turn to unhealthy foods when things get stressful. But following a healthy alkaline diet is more likely to help you feel better (instead of worse) in the long run.
  • Find an exercise routine. Exercise is a great stress-buster. Yoga can be an excellent choice, but any form of physical activity is beneficial.
  • Create a physically healthy workplace. You could start by identifying employer-sponsored wellness resources you can tap into. Also, make some changes to your physical workspace to make it more comfortable and reduce strain. And find opportunities to stand, stretch and walk during your day.
  • Get enough rest. Getting enough good-quality sleep is important for effective stress management. Build healthy sleep habits by limiting your caffeine intake late in the day and minimizing stimulating activities, such as computer and television use at night.  
  • Take time to recharge. To avoid the negative effects of chronic stress and burnout, we need time to replenish and return to our pre-stress level of functioning.
  • Have a laugh. They say laughter is the best medicine, and it can certainly lower your stress, even if just for a short respite from your busy schedule. Pull up your favorite comic or have a laugh at the water cooler with a co-worker.
  • Play music. Music can lower stress, especially the right kind of music. Relaxing music or nature sounds can calm you down. Give it a try next time you feel stressed at work!

Try taking one proactive step today and see the difference it makes. You’ll be encouraged to keep going! Also, contact Proactive Health Labs if your company wants to create a healthier workplace. Our team of experts can help!

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.

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