According to a January, 2013 online “Work and Well-Being Survey” conducted on behalf of the American Psychological Association, more than one-third of American workers experience chronic work stress. These workers report they don’t feel valued at work, lack opportunities for advancement, and have heavy workloads. Almost two-thirds of the workers surveyed cite work as a significant source of stress. While many of the survey results cited things that workers and their employers need to work on, a positive result was found in those reporting extreme stress. That level has dropped from 32% in 2007 to 20% in 2013.
What effect could all that stress be having on your health? WebMD cites that up to 75% of all doctor visits could be from stress related illnesses such as:
• Upset stomach
• Elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and other heart issues
• Problems with sleeping
• Depression and anxiety
• And even cancer
Did you know that your genes, personality and life experiences all influence the way you respond or cope with stress? In order to cope with all that stress that American workers are reporting it is a good idea to identify what your stress triggers are.
Let’s identify your stress triggers to help you cope with this excess stress. For a week keep a journal of the situations, events and even people who cause you stress. Write down these factors:
• Who was involved
• Where you were
• What happened?
At the end of the week, take a look at your journal – were there any things that stressed you out that you could control? Would it help if you got to work 5 minutes earlier and you weren’t rushed first thing in the morning? Look for changes that you can work on.
Strategies to reduce the impact of stress include:
• Regular exercise in our lives
• Strive to get at least 7 hours of sleep
• Have non-screen hobbies – like listening to music, or reading a book, or working on your hobby
• Making a priority list for work or home of tasks
• Spiritual endeavors – reading devotions, taking advantage of services and courses, meditating, or just reading poetry
• Taking a 10 minute break to relax – breathe deeply, take a mind vacation
• Hugging a family member or friend, or spending time with our pets
• Taking our lunch break – getting up from the desk and doing something else for at least 15 minutes
• Avoid excessive alcohol, caffeine, and fatty foods – these just make it more difficult to sleep
What is your favorite stress relaxation activity? I love to read – I take mind vacations to places all over the world through my books. We would love to hear your favorite tip or idea for managing the work stress that all employees are reporting. You can share your tips by commenting on this blog article.
American Psychological Association, http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/03/employee-needs.aspx.
Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, email@example.com