At some time or another, it happens to most of us–we get stressed at work! And stress in the workplace should not be taken lightly. It is estimated that at least one-third of American workers experience chronic workplace stress, according to the American Psychological Association. This has quite an impact as it is costing American businesses billions of dollars each year in medical bills and lost work hours. But there’s even far more greater consequences as all this stress at work can seriously impact our quality of life–not just at the office, but in all phases of our personal life as well. So what can we do to lessen our stress levels and take back our lives? Read on…
Think back to your teenage years–many of us thought we were invincible! We drove too fast or did stupid dares from our friends, not even considering the repercussions…and why should we? We were invincible (and besides…mortality was not in our vocabulary!) But sooner or later we grew up…some in our 20s, others in their 30s…and we realized “Hey–we’re not invincible.” We actually knew people our age who died. We started getting away from the blatantly obvious dumb stuff and started doing more of the adult stuff, such as working crazy long hours, lying awake at night worrying about presentations or upcoming deadlines, or even stressing over how great our yard looks.
Well, guess what? Turns out that the adult stuff can be just as dangerous as driving too fast. For some of us, we don’t give a second thought to working a 60-hour week, and we surely don’t think about consequences. We get stretched way too thin with obligations, deadlines, and just attempting to prove our worth. So really, we are acting as if we’re invincible! News flash!! As much as we would like to believe we are invincible, unfortunately we are not. We get sick…we burn out…we are vulnerable. According to Web MD, stress is responsible for 75 to 90 percent of all doctor’s office visits. It’s also no secret that stress contributes to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disease. Translation–stress should not be ignored! Want some good news? Coping with stress is actually not so difficult. So how do we go about managing stress effectively? We need to address it in at least 3 areas of our lives…1) Physical Health; 2) Mental Health; and 3) Sense of Purpose. Let’s take a look at each area separately, with 3 tips per area…
1) De-Stress Your Body–In today’s hectic and fast-paced world, we spend way more time dealing with our body’s stress responses than we do seeking out relaxation responses. As you can imagine, this eventually takes it’s toll on our overall health. We know that chronic stress can suppress our immune systems, cause feelings of fatigue, depression, and can accelerate the aging process. Since stress is tied to our physical body which also includes a hormonal component, a logical place to start would be to use our body to interrupt the stressful response. This comes down to 3 basic components…how we move (and how often)…what we eat…and how much sleep we get. Let’s take a look at each one:
- Exercise regularly–We know that physical activity releases endorphins, those feel-good stress relieving chemicals produced in our brain. So whenever you start to feel stressed out, get up and move! Go for a walk around the building or do some stretches or exercises right at your desk (check out 2 of my recent blog posts for exercise ideas to do right at your desk). You can also try some deep breathing exercises to help eliminate some of the stressors.
- Eat whole foods–Eating whole foods, eating more fruits and vegetables (especially green ones), and making sure to get a healthy dose of Omega-3 fatty acids (such as from oily fish like salmon or tuna or from seeds such as flax, chia, and hemp). Making sure your body is properly nourished will better prepare you for whatever challenges you might face at work.
- Get enough sleep–Try to aim for 7-8 hours every night. Stressors at work seem to be magnified when we’re not thinking clearly due to fatigue. We tend to be better problem-solvers and even more intelligent when we’ve had adequate rest.
If you feel like your body is starting to break down because of workplace stressors, then call my office at once at (302)691-9055 or visit my website at www.wildermanphysicaltherapy.com to schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation to see how Physical Therapy can help relieve those nagging issues that are affecting your work and home life. Don’t delay–schedule now!