Is your job stressing you out? Do you dream of telling your boss to take this job and shove it?
If so, it’s likely you’re suffering from workplace stress. While Merle Haggard made light of stress, workplace stress is a serious subject. Stress costs us billions in lost work hours and medical bills, not to mention the unquantifiable decrease in our quality of life. So how do we not only reduce the dollar cost of stress, but — more importantly — take back our lives?
WORKPLACE STRESS: THE CHALLENGE OF MODERN LIFE
I believe we have to start with reminding ourselves we are not invincible.
Remember when we were teenagers and thought we were invincible? We did stupid things like drive too fast, drink too much, and play with fire (either literally or figuratively). Many of us are lucky to make it out of our teens alive, what with our cavalier attitude about mortality.
At some point, usually in our late 20s or early 30s, many of us begin to realize we aren’t invincible. People we know die. We stop doing the blatantly stupid stuff and start doing more of the “adult” stuff such as working long hours, stressing about what the neighbors think of our landscaping and staying awake worrying about missing out on the next promotion opportunity.
But it turns out the “adult” stuff can be just as dangerous as driving too fast. We work 60+ hours a week as if there are no consequences. We run around creating the perfect household, trying to be the perfect partner, or perfect parent, or perfect community pillar. We get stretched thin with obligations, deadlines, and trying to prove our worth. In other words, we are still acting as if we’re invincible.
The truth of the matter is that we are not invincible. We burn out. We get sick. We are vulnerable. Stress is responsible for 75-90% of all doctor’s office visits. Stress contributes to heart disease, diabetes, obesity and autoimmune disease.
THREE-STEP PLAN FOR MANAGING WORKPLACE STRESS NATURALLY
After 17 years in the working world and another two as a business owner, I’ve learned a thing or two about workplace stress and burnout — and about the importance of managing stress so it doesn’t lead to burn out. In honor of Stress Awareness Month, which runs throughout April of this year, I want to share with you the formula I discovered for managing workplace stress.
(Note: I know you’re short on time, so I’m sharing step one this week and will share steps two and three next week.)
STEP ONE: START BY DE-STRESSING YOUR BODY
We have been taught that diet, exercise, and sleep help us lose weight. But what we eat, whether we move or are sedentary, and how much we sleep matter beyond the number on the scale — these factors are the foundation for living a stress-free, energized life.
Since stress is a physical and hormonal chain reaction, the first place to start is using your body to interrupt the response. The following are some of my favorite tips for eradicating stress on a physical level.
- Eat whole foods. Processed food can cause us to feel anxious and can even contribute to ADD. We can prevent this by eating more fruits and vegetables, especially the green ones and getting a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids from salmon or seeds such as hemp, chia and flax.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity releases feel good, stress-relieving chemicals. Every time you find your stress level on the rise, get up and move. You can stretch, run in place, dance, walk around the office or around the building. This gets your blood and endorphins flowing, makes you happy and turns off your flight or fight stress response. Boost the physical benefits of moving by taking several deep, cleansing breathes that trigger your relaxation stressor.
- Get enough sleep. Aim for eight hours of sleep each night. Sleeping well can help you solve problems with a clearer mind and even boost your intelligence.
Laurie Erdman, JD, MS, CHHC is a speaker, Get More Energy Strategist and the CEO of The Ignite Well Being Institute LLC where she helps companies sustain fast growth by energizing their people. To download her FREE book: Burnout. Identify It. Extinguish It. Ignite Your Life visit www.TheIgniteWellBeingInstitute.com. - See more at: http://www.theignitewellbeinginstitute.com