Back in 2011, the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health published a large study that surveyed 17,000 working adults in Sweden. At the beginning of the study, participants completed a questionnaire called the GHQ-12, which measures current stress levels and asks questions about mental health.
Participants who had high stress levels were significantly more likely to receive long-term disability during the testing timeframe. However, the most startling finding was that people who had even mild stress levels were 70 percent more likely to receive disability benefits of some kind.
If you’re stressed out at work and not actively managing it, you’re putting yourself at risk for serious long-term problems. Try these seven approaches to make work stress more bearable.
1. Better Nutrition
Stress often pushes people to nutritional extremes. Either they stop eating enough, or they start overeating as a way to cope. Also, busy, stressed people often grab too many meals on the go. Because they don’t eat mindfully, they ignore not only portion control but also nutrient balance. In addition to eating whole foods, cutting out junk food, and only eating until you’re full, try consuming less alcohol and caffeine in the coming year. Avoid using caffeine as a pick-me-up, and use something else besides a class of wine to help yourself relax.
Getting some exercise is one of the best ways to manage workplace stress, and exercising for stress management doesn’t mean joining a gym or running a 5K next year. Commit to a 30-minute daily walk, or take a yoga class. You’ll improve your fitness, boost your endorphins, and ease mild symptoms of anxiety and depression.
3. Get More (and Better) Sleep
According to Claimsdirect.co.uk, which handles many workplace personal injury cases, sleep deprivation can become a major factor in workplace accidents. For example, sleep deprivation played a major role in the incident at Three Mile Island, the Challenger explosion, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Lack of sleep also means less energy to manage even simple daily stressors at work. This year, get enough rest during the week that you wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
4. Seek Support From Others
During the new year, make an effort to strengthen ties to supportive friends and family members. Attend more family events, schedule outings with friends, and make sure you’re getting plenty of contact with other people. Talk to people you trust — not your co-workers — about stressful events at work. The more isolated you are, the more likely you are to experience depression and anxiety.
5. Find Ways to Relax
Find something that helps you relax and take your mind off of your job. Sometimes, the simplest actions, like stroking your pet or taking a few minutes to meditate, can significantly ease stress. If you need more to distract yourself from work, spend more time doing something that you love. Start an exciting project that you’ve been telling yourself that you’ll get to “one of these days,” or enter a contest or go to an event related to a hobby that you enjoy.
6. Improve Your Time Management
If you’re always late to meetings or putting off things you know you should be doing, improve your time management this year. Procrastinating seems relaxing while you’re avoiding a task, but you pay later when you’re stressed out about finishing it. One of the best ways to manage time is to start saying “no” when you don’t have enough hours to complete a task. Also, figure out which tasks you can either delegate to someone else or drop altogether.
7. Be Nice to Yourself
The way that you talk to yourself can change your perspective on life. Take time to focus on your accomplishments instead of on where you’ve fallen short. Also, take time to do something nice for yourself, whether it’s getting a pedicure or going to a café to relax for an hour. Finally, everyone has limits, so accept yours and stop beating yourself up about them. Find ways to ask for help when you need it.
You’ll never eliminate all stress from your life, but you can make yourself more resilient so that you can handle it. Tackle one or two of these ideas in the coming year. You’ll become healthier and happier at work.
Article Submitted By Community Writer.