Work Stress Can Be Hurting Your Health
For almost all of us, work can be a consistent source of anxiety. Stress in small doses can be a powerful tool to help motivate us to push ourselves to achieve. However, large quantities can lead to physical problems that follow you out of your office.
Common outcomes include:
- Fatigue : Anxiety can lead to tossing and turning at night, and the reduced amount of sleep can yield both short- and long-term consequences. For example, did you know that operating on limited amounts of sleep can lead you to conjure false memories? It can also lead to anti-social behavior, irrational decision-making and communication struggles. Over time, consistent lack of sleep can severely impact your health, leading to conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
- Tension headaches: Stress and related emotions can manifest themselves in the form of headaches. This can lead to throbbing pain towards the front and side of your head, as well as sensitivity to light, irritability and, as mentioned above, trouble sleeping.
- Weight issues: People are more likely to neglect their health when stressed in favor of immediate relief, often found in excessive eating, smoking or alcohol consumption. All of these can have a negative impact on your overall weight and wellbeing. To top it off, stress can influence the hormones that dictate where the body positions mass, leading to fat being increasingly stored in the gut region.
- Diabetes: As eluded to above, an unhealthy diet and drinking habits can lead to increased weight and, relatedly, an increased likelihood of diabetes. To further worsen the situation, stress can cause those who have the disease to increasingly experience spikes in glucose levels.
- Breakouts: Acne is not as severe as heart failure, but pimples can certainly be a source of discontent. The breakouts are accredited to the hormone irregularity that is often triggered by stress, leading to the skin producing excess sebum. Plus, unhealthy diets and smoking can also contribute to acne.
What can you do to reduce the amount of mental and emotional strain you regularly endure? For starters, make sure to set boundaries with yourself and others. If you’re asked to forfeit sleep or important plans, speak up and politely ask for an alternative that won’t require you to risk your physical and emotional wellbeing. What’s more, find ways to retreat to a mental “safe place” throughout the day. This could mean going for walks during your lunch hour, closing your eyes and meditating in an empty conference room or perhaps breaking a sweat at the gym before or after heading into the office. Of course, outside help through a therapist is always a viable option. Experiment with what brings you the greatest serenity so work’s pressures doesn’t take its toll on your overall happiness and health.
If you manage other individuals, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of stress endured by employees. You can lessen workloads or lower expectations, but there are far better solutions that don’t hinder overall output.
One of the greatest sources of stress stems from the feeling of lack of support from both colleagues and superiors. As a manager, try to nurture a team environment in which members feel like they can trust their fellows and come to you with their frustrations. Unless workers are under performing, your staff should feel secure in their jobs.
Uncertainty will not only lead to greater stress, but your retention rate will fall. Show your appreciation through verbal praise, bonuses and thoughtful gestures like gift cards or custom branded goods. There are plenty of options from timepieces to flower seed packets. Such gifts demonstrate your gratitude for employees’ hard work in order to make the job seem less “thankless.”
Article by Michelle Hough