Promote A Healthy Schedule At Work
Employers should have a responsibility to conduct business in a way thats supportive of the mental health and well-being of their workforce, says Dr. Greg Marcus, a life-balance coach and author. Marcus cites Henry Ford instituting the 40-hour work week finding he could make as many cars in five days as he could in six, because people made fewer mistakes when they only worked 40 hours.
I think we all know that it takes far longer to find and correct a mistake than it does to do it right the first time, says Marcus. Therefore, company policy should help support a lifestyle where both physical rest and mental recovery become part of the daily routine.
Effects Of Too Much Stress
“If constantly under stress, most of us will eventually start to function less well,” says Malaika Stoll, M.D., chief medical officer of SutterSelect. Multiple studies link chronic stress to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, weight gain, memory loss and even premature death, so “it’s important to recognize the warning signals,” she says.
Talk to your doctor about ways to manage stress if youre experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Prolonged periods of poor sleep
- Regular, severe headaches
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Feelings of isolation, withdrawal or worthlessness
- Constant anger and irritability
- Loss of interest in activities
- Constant worrying or obsessive thinking
- Excessive alcohol or drug use
- Inability to concentrate
Eat Healthy And Nutritious Foods
Photo Credit: Stacy via Flickrs Creative Commons
Ever heard the phrase eat your feelings?
Its a real phenomenon. Many people turn to unhealthy comfort foods as stress management at work.
Safe to safe that dealing with work stress in this manner is not good. Why does this happen? When were stressed, our brain releases the hormone cortisol, which makes us crave salty, sweet, and fat-laden foods for the temporary pleasure they bring. But ironically, stress eating only exacerbates the problem.
Sugar or fat-laden foods like pizza, burgers, and ice cream make us feel lethargic, and less likely to tackle the problems that lay before us, which in turn only increases our stress. Thats why its so important to eat healthy foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates that fuel our brains and support concentration and focus. This will give you the power to learn how to handle work pressure & how to overcome stress at work. Not sure what to eat? Here are some tips: Eat this:
- Complex carbs like whole wheat bread or pasta and vegetables
- Foods high in fiber like fruits and vegetables
- Superfoods like Kale, Dark Chocolate, and blueberries, which contain mood-boosting antioxidants
- Lean proteins like chicken, or better yet, wild-caught Alaskan Salmon
And dont forget, no other food category impacts your overall diet like snacking. The availability of healthy snacks will help improve your diet and keep your stress in check.
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Getting Support From Your Family
Spouses, children, and other loved ones can support those working from home. The team approach works just as well here. Encourage the person who is working remotely to share how others can help. Be mindful of anything that others are doing that has been disruptive or problematic, such as noise levels from television or video games. When everyone shows interest in being helpful and offering to help, this provides a fair amount of relief.
Avoid Irregular Work Schedules As Much As Possible
Salaried workers donât have to deal with varying work schedules, but hourly employees do. And itâs a huge stressor. Almost 30% of workers with irregular schedules report having serious work and family conflicts over the issue.
Random shift changes, on-call work schedules can all lead to stress, because workers are constantly in limbo when it comes to balance between work and life. They never know when theyâll need to work with much advance, and itâs difficult for them to make personal plans or even decompress when they could be called to work at any moment.
Try to create schedules that your employees can âbankâ on. Make sudden changes as rare as possible. Make it possible for your employees to rely on a steady schedule enough that they can arrange a solid personal life around their work schedule. This will help them return to work refreshed.
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Do Employers Have To Do Anything About Stress Outside Work
You don’t have to, but it’s good if you do. If you think about people’s personal lives and outside stressors, you will be able to anticipate stressful times.
Your employee is not obliged to tell you their personal problems, but there are some practical things you could do to support them:
- be sympathetic and proactive – arrange a confidential meeting with the person, allowing them the opportunity to discuss any problems they wish and allowing you time to voice your own concerns, it may help to clarify whether the persons problems are work related or personal
- be flexible – consider offering the person more flexible working hours, or even offer them some paid time off to deal with their problems
- offer outside support – if appropriate, you could suggest they visit their doctor and allow them time off to do so, you could also suggest support groups
- outline the support and services your organisation offers- for example, your organisation may have a worklife balance initiative in place, these are benefits, policies, or programmes that help balance out job demands and a healthy life outside work, they can include, childcare services, flexible working arrangements, family leave policies, employee assistance programmes and fitness programmes
Programmes of this kind can work effectively to:
- retain staff
- reduce sickness absence and stress
- increase productivity and commitment
The Importance Of Managing Stress
If youre living with high levels of stress, youre putting your entire well-being at risk. Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. It may seem like theres nothing you can do about stress. The bills wont stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think.
Effective stress management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and funand the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. Thats why its important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do that.
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Identify And Control Your Stressors
Stress is mainly triggered from the outside, according to Judith Belmont, a psychotherapist, mental health speaker and author of The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life. But, she says, it is our attitude and our perceptions that determine how stress affects us.
From this perspective, stress is a result of our personal interpretations of events. So, even if you cant eliminate all of your stressors work deadlines, finances, hosting the holidays you can control your stress levels if you can control your inner state. Perhaps the most direct way to do this involves mindfulness meditation.
Focus On What You Love
Astronaut Christina Koch became well-known for breaking the record of the longest single spaceflight by a woman. Koch was trained by NASA to endure social isolation while in space. She advised that, during this time, an excellent way to manage the stress of working at home is trying to focus on the positive.
Naturally, remaining positive during such uncertain times is a huge challenge. However, you can begin by focusing on what you like the most about this situation. This can be having more time to see your children, working while having a nice view of your backyard, etc. The more you think about your favorite things, the less pessimistic you will feel. In the words of Koch, is not about the number of dates, but what you do with those dates.
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Point Your Brain At A Problem
If the stress is more mental than physical and you feel your mind looping around itself, give yourself a discrete task, such as organizing your shoes or doing a word puzzle. When youre stressed, your brain may be saying, weve got a problem to solve so it keeps spinning. Thats a good time to engage your mind, says Kissen. If you give it a task to focus on, youll feel calmer and be better able to deal with whats actually stressing you out.
What Happens To My Body When I Experience Stress
People react differently to stress. Some common symptoms of stress include sleeping problems, sweating or a change in appetite.6,7
Symptoms like these are triggered by a rush of stress hormones in your body which, when released, allow you to deal with pressures or threats. This is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response.
Hormones called adrenaline and noradrenaline raise your blood pressure, increase your heart rate and increase the rate at which you perspire. This prepares your body for an emergency response.8 These hormones can also reduce blood flow to your skin and reduce your stomach activity. Cortisol, another stress hormone, releases fat and sugar into your system to boost your energy.9
As a result, you may experience headaches, muscle tension, pain, nausea, indigestion and dizziness. You may also breathe more quickly, have palpitations or suffer from various aches and pains. In the long-term, you may be putting yourself at risk from heart attacks and stroke.10
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Helping Children And Youth Cope With Stress
Children and youth often struggle with how to cope with stress. Youth can be particularly overwhelmed when their stress is connected to a traumatic eventlike a natural disaster, family loss, school shootings, or community violence. Parents, caregivers, and educators can take steps to provide stability and support that help young people feel better.
Simple Ways To Relieve Stress And Anxiety
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Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. In fact, 70% of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily.
Here are 16 simple ways to relieve stress and anxiety.
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress.
It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress.
The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who dont exercise .
There are a few reasons behind this:
- Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your bodys stress hormones such as cortisol in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.
- Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.
- Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental wellbeing.
- Try to find an exercise routine or activity you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, rock climbing or yoga.
Activities such as walking or jogging that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be particularly stress relieving.
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Identify Your Personal Stress Triggers
We all have particular situations or people that make us more stressed. Some of these are easily identifiable and may be avoidable. However, sometimes stress may build up over time, and result from a pattern of incidents or events, rather than a single trigger.
This will make it easier to take action to address your stress levels.
Accept The Things You Can’t Change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.
“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”
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What Are The Behavioural And Emotional Effects Of Stress
When you are stressed you may experience many different feelings, including anxiety, irritability or low self-esteem, which can lead to becoming withdrawn, indecisive and tearful.13
You may experience periods of constant worry, racing thoughts, or repeatedly go over the same things in your head. You may experience changes in your behaviour. You may lose your temper more easily, act irrationally or become more verbally or physically aggressive.14 These feelings can feed on each other and produce physical symptoms, which can make you feel even worse. For example, extreme anxiety can make you feel so unwell, that you then worry you have a serious physical condition.
Stay Organized And Clean
Disorganization drains your energy and time. People who work at home in cluttered spaces spend extra time looking for lost items such as paperwork, stationery, tools, keys, etc. The extra time you spend sorting through the mess adds up quickly, shortening your productivity and stressing you out. Being organized is crucial to managing your time and efficiency. Always try to work in a clean and organized space. Leave your workspace organized at night so you can work with no major setbacks as you begin your day.
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Managing Stress In Daily Life
Stress is not an illness itself, but it can cause serious illness if it isn’t addressed. It’s important to recognise the symptoms of stress early. Recognising the signs and symptoms of stress will help you figure out ways of coping and save you from adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking or smoking.
There is little you can do to prevent stress, but there are many things you can do to manage stress more effectively, such as learning how to relax, taking regular exercise and adopting good time-management techniques.
Studies have found that mindfulness courses, where participants are taught simple meditations across a series of weeks, can also help to reduce stress and improve mood.
Develop Techniques That Will Help You To Feel In Control Of Your Life
There is plenty of research that suggests that the single factor that causes most stress is feeling out of control.
One way that you can help yourself to avoid stress is to develop techniques to help you solve problems and make decisions more easily.
For example, one problem-solving technique involves writing down the problem and coming up with as many possible solutions as you can. Decide on the good and bad points of each one and select the best solution. Write down each step that you need to take as part of the solution: what will be done, how will it be done, when will it be done, who is involved and where will it take place.
There is more about this and other techniques in our series of pages on Problem-Solving and Decision-Making.
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Tips To Reduce Stress At Home
As many Americans will attest, “home, sweet home” isn’t always a stress-free zone. With April being Stress Awareness Month, Health Net is offering tips designed to reduce stress at home. Homegrown stress can be traced to numerous sources a noisy environment, an unhappy spouse, financial worries, or even mundane domestic duties such as doing the laundry or mowing the lawn.
Stress is not a subject to be taken lightly. As Patricia Buss, M.D., medical and health care services operations officer for Health Net, Inc., explains, “Stress has been linked to a broad range of psychological and physical disorders.”
Symptoms of Stress Recognizing that you’re experiencing stress is the first step toward managing stress. The following are some common physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms associated with stress:
- Physical signs headaches, light-headedness, rapid breathing and heartbeat, sweaty palms, dry mouth, stomachaches and trouble sleeping or concentrating
- Emotional signs depression, anxiety, nightmares, crying spells or feeling unable to cope
- Behavioral signs irritability, impatience, anger, aggression, social isolation, lack of energy, changes in appetite, loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed, boredom, significant alcohol or drug use and diminished sex drive.
Ten Tips to Make your Home a HavenHealth Net’s behavioral health subsidiary, Managed Health Network, Inc., offers the following strategies designed to help make your home life happier and healthier:
Eliminate Stress: Make The Most Out Of Your Time
If the prospect of remote work is stressing you out, fear not. Theres still a lot to learn about working from home and not everyone has it figured out. With the current health emergency, it will take a while to get used to the new circumstances. Worrying about the future is not at all productive as you cant predict what tomorrow will be like. You can, however, focus on the now.
Make the most out of the situation and look at the bright side. You can start by following our 10 remote-working tips to properly manage stress and keep yourself productive. Synctuition makes the process much easier by relaxing your mind with the latest meditation technology. The more you listen to our 3D sound audio journeys, the more you will develop the clarity of mind needed to stay positive, focused, and motivated in the midst of adversity.
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