As the holiday season moves swiftly towards us, a balance in life can become more difficult to manage. Though the season is cheery and full of celebration and memories, it can also become overwhelmingly busy in many aspects. Not entirely limited to the holiday season, workplace and job stress is one of the biggest problems in a person’s day-to-day life.
Having some stress in your life is normal; however, excessive stress affects productivity, physical health, and mental health. Stress itself (along with other emotions) is contagious; it affects your success and your interactions with others around you. Thus, stress can subconsciously transfer to colleagues and those around you, creating a bit of a snowball effect.
Though stress can stall productivity and negatively affect your mental health, it can also have a worrisome affect on your physical wellbeing. Being overly stressed causes a jump in the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol can be dangerous in excess as it causes that fight or flight response to stay turned on. Normally, our body’s levels go back to normal once that response has subsided; however, in cases of excessive stress, the hormone levels in our body are constantly elevated and disrupting.
Being in a long-term ‘fight or flight’ situation (like chronic workplace stress) causes health problems like anxiety, depression, digestive issues, sleep problems, weight gain, heart disease, high blood pressure, and memory and concentration impairments.
Not to worry, though. Excessive stress in the workplace can be managed and kept under control by following a few simple tips:
- Recognize warning symptoms: anxiety, feeling depressed, apathy, fatigue or problems sleeping, concentration issues, and more.
- Time management: set realistic goals and make a priority list.
- Keep perspective: take a break, have an outlet, and remember to take care of yourself.
- Practice relaxation techniques: yoga, tai chi, meditation, or whatever usually works to relax you.
- Eat well, exercise, limit alcohol, and keep up on a regular sleep schedule.
What other tips help you decrease your stress levels at work?
Written by: Kristin Coppens. This article was done in conjunction with a partnership with BCBSM’s A Healthier Michigan.