Let’s face it, we spend more than half our lives at work, infact we spend more time at work than we do with our families, that’s pretty crazy when you think about it. Our families are the important part of our lives and yet most of our precious time is spent in the workforce. When work stress and pressures start to build up, the physical and emotional impact is not only felt by us but on our families too. It’s imperative that we understand the importance of coping with stress in the workplace and that we create a plan to ensure we stay on our wellness path.
Stress in the workplace can become extremely troublesome for not only you and I but for the employer as well. When we are stressed at work, we become less productive and are at more risk of illness’ which doesn’t reflect well on us or the employer. It really is worth the employer’s investment and time to incorporate a health and wellness plan for staff into their business strategy, because after all being proactive benefits everyone’s overall health and well being.
CAN THERE BE BENEFITS TO STRESS?
Short answer, yes there are benefits to stress. We associate stress as having a ‘negative’ impact on us, when in fact there are positive benefits of stress. A little stress in our lives keeps us focused, energetic and eager to meet challenging deadlines at work. But, while some stress is good for us, we need to be mindful about when stress starts to become unhealthy? Would you know the warning signs? And, how would you take action?
STRESSED OUT AT WORK? WARNING SIGNS TO WATCH OUT FOR
It’s important we become aware of the warning signs that present when work stress begins to have an impact on our overall health and well being, warning signs can be any of the following:
- Feeling irritable, anxious and depressed
- Tension headaches
- Social withdrawal
- Trouble concentrating
We need to be mindful of the signs and take appropriate action to ensure we put a plan in place to keep our mind, body and soul healthy.
COPING WITH STRESS AT WORK; WHAT CAN WE DO
When you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed at work, it’s time to establish a plan that will allow you to cope with pressures. You may think that you don’t have control over what your day looks like but chances are there are certain aspects that you do have control over but maybe just hadn’t thought about it. Below are some suggestions on how you can control your day, even when you think you are powerless at work and at the mercy of your employer
Break Time: It’s the law and you are entitled to your breaks. TAKE THEM. Many of us get so caught up in the work and meeting those deadlines that we forget to take our breaks. Walking away from the work, whatever it may be, can actually benefit our productivity. We can gather our thoughts and go back at it from a fresh perspective.
Move Often: Get as much movement in during the day as you possibly can, walk, run, skip whatever gets you up and moving. Fit it into your break time, lunchtime whatever your day will allow. Movement will lift your mood, give you energy and sharpen your focus and relax your body and mind.
Eat Healthy: Incorporating good food choices in your day will surely benefit your stress levels and overall well being.
- Minimize your sugars and carbs, eating these when we’re craving them from stress will make stress symptoms worse when we crash.
- Reduce those foods that can have an adverse impact on your mood, caffeine, trans fats and food that contain preservatives
- Enjoy lost of OMEGA 3 foods; fatty fish, flaxseed or walnuts are a few that will surely give your mood a boost
- Use alcohol in moderation – too much can cause anxiety
Good Sleep Habits: Establishing healthy sleep habits and aiming for 8 hrs per night will help you in managing work stress. Go to bed at the same time every night (including weekends). Avoid stimulating activities before bed, read a book, listen to soft music and relax your body and mind into a peaceful sleep. Feeling rested allows you to better handle work stress and be more productive.
Tracy’s Tip: I recommend setting your morning alarm to spa or soft calming music so that you’re not startled out of your sleep in a panic and your heart racing like you just ran a marathon the minute you open your eyes, no, waking up to calming music really can set the tone for your day.
Organize and Prioritize: Leave 15 – 20 minutes earlier for work and ease into day or shift calmly and focused, rather than rushing in right on time frantically getting yourself set up for the day, this sets the tone for your day (hectic and stressful). This is extremely important for me. I arrive at work 20 minutes before my start time, prioritize my tasks and organize my to do list for the day. This allows me to feel refreshed and ready to start my day.
By following these simple steps I’ve listed you will not only be taking control of how your day is going to go but you will be better equipped to cope with workplace stresses.
GET A HANDLE ON WORK STRESS; YOUR OVERALL WELLNESS DEPENDS ON IT
Stress at work is inevitable, we all feel it and finding coping strategies that will allow us to manage the stress is key. However, stress can be positive as it motivates us to be productive and challenges us which in turn results in our growth professionally. Recognizing the warning signs when stress starts to impact our over well being is extremely important. We need to recognize the warning signs and pull out our plan (or create a plan if we haven’t already established one) to get ourselves back on the wellness track.
I’d love to hear how you cope with stress at work