How to Deal with Stress at Work
July 12, 2022
Is your job stressful?
Some people may answer yes and begin listing a litany of complaints. Others might also answer yes while they excitedly tell you about all the fulfilling work they are doing. That’s because occasional stress at work doesn’t always have negative consequences.
“Many people struggle with how to handle stress at work,” said Dr. Charles Hu, a principal research scientist and clinical investigator for Nutrilite™ products with a PhD in food sciences. “We think of occasional stress as being a bad thing, but it’s actually a natural part of life. Stress is how our bodies react to any type of change in our lives – positive or negative.”
A healthy challenge like a promotion at work or being entrusted with a new project is positive stress. It can make you work harder and enhance your performance, as long as it’s not overwhelming.
On the other hand, trying to succeed while working with unrealistic expectations, unpleasant coworkers or a shortage of resources can all be causes of stress at work, and not the positive kind.
Too much of any kind of stress, especially negative stress, can result in physical symptoms like a headache or upset stomach. Survey data indicates many people—62 percent—experience high levels of stress leading to extreme fatigue and feeling out of control.
“Left unchecked, stress could lead to even more serious health issues,” Dr. Hu said. “That’s why it’s so important to learn how to deal with stress at work and other parts of your life.”
There are several reasons why people might feel stressed at their jobs. They could be worried about being laid off as a result of a struggling bottom line. Maybe a coworker is creating a toxic work environment. Maybe their boss is pressuring them to take on too many projects. Or maybe a sick family member needs more of their time, upsetting the work-life balance.
In a survey of North American employees on the causes of stress at work, 41 percent of respondents cited their workload, 32 percent listed “people issues,” 18 percent pointed to work-life balance while 9 percent said they were concerned about job security.
What is stressful for some may not be a problem for others, but, in general, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define job stress as the “harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities , resources or needs of the worker,” noting that it can lead to poor health.
As Dr. Hu said, stress is how our bodies react to any type of change in our lives. When you get sweaty palms, a blush rises on your face or you feel a pit in your stomach, your body is implementing its defense mechanism.
According to the CDC, these responses are biologically designed to prepare the body for defensive action against a threatening situation. In the short term, there is little impact. But there is cause for health concerns when these situations are continually unresolved and the body remains on high alert.
Productivity and job performance can also suffer as a result of employees being under too much stress on a regular basis. An American Institute of Stress analysis estimated a $300 billion cost to U.S. employers stemming from workplace stress when considering absenteeism, turnover, productivity and associated medical and legal costs.
If all this is sounding very familiar and relatable, it’s time to discuss how to reduce stress at work. Certain causes of stress at work require serious discussions with a manager or the human resources department to find relief. And if you are constantly experiencing overwhelming stress, this may be a sign that it is time to speak with a health care professional.
But when it comes to managing occasional stress that we all experience now and then, there are some strategies that are within your control.
When things feel stressful at work, it’s good to be able to rely on supportive colleagues. But first, you have to make sure you’ve built up that support network. This means engaging co-workers more often. If you’re normally quiet in the workplace or during online meetings, it’s time to change that.
Making those deeper connections can be helpful if you experience signs of stress at work because you will have people who can support you, offer advice or just a laugh with you when you need it the most.
The healthier you are, the more likely you can handle occasional stress. That means choosing your foods wisely, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. Take advantage of your employer’s wellness programs like gym memberships.
Make sure you schedule breaks throughout your workday so you can mentally refresh and recharge. A regular walk outside can do wonders. Try daily meditation to focus your mind or just get a mental break.
Many of us gravitate toward our favorite candy or baked goods during times of stress, so keep a steady supply of snacks that won’t cause an afternoon sugar crash, such as fresh fruit, nuts or prepackaged items like BodyKey™ Slim Popcorn or Nutrilite Wellness Bars.
Lastly, consider vitamins and supplements that can support your efforts to manage occasional stress, such as L-theanine, B vitamins, magnesium or chamomile.
Probiotics can also help with occasional stress. When our gut is working properly, it produces more serotonin and dopamine than the brain does. Serotonin and dopamine are chemical messengers that play important roles in how we feel, our mood and our ability to think and plan.
Probiotics help support gut health. They can be found in certain foods as well as supplements.
Don’t let signs of stress at work or other occasional stressors disrupt your life. Find ways to manage your stress that work for you. Learn more about Nutrilite vitamins and supplements that can help at Amway.ca.
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