These days everyone talks a lot about how stress at work is affecting them. We tend to do this in a rather casual way, after all: “it is only a bit of stress”. We feel lucky to have our health and learn to live with the fact that most days we leave work feeling like we have been hit by a ten-ton lorry. Unfortunately, too many people fail to understand that stress can cause many physical ailments and that its much greater problem than many realise.
In 2011 the Health and Safety Executive published some rather eye-opening figures about just what job-related stress is doing to working Britons. Some of the ‘lowlights’ included:
- Approximately 1 in 6 Britons consider their work to be very or extremely stressful.
- The average stress related case lasts just over 30 working days and is the single biggest factor contributing to work-related ill-health.
- Stress is the second most commonly reported reason for work-related ill-health, just behind musculoskeletal issues (usually caused by all that time spent sitting at a desk.)
None of this is good news for the average employer but it is even worse news for the employees themselves. These statistics and other reports show that stress at work is not something to be ignored or simply ‘dealt with’.
There is no magic pill or potion for getting rid of stress (whatever you may have read) and for most of us giving up work and going to live on a beach is not an option. However, there are some things that you can do to help better manage the daily stresses of work, therefore improving your overall health and well-being:
Managing Stress At Work – Some Simple Tips
Identify Stress Triggers – Everyone has certain things that ‘set them off’ turning what might have been a pleasant day at work into a stress-filled nightmare. It could be a boss who never seems to understand that sixteen hours of work cannot be fitted into eight; or a particularly difficult coworker; It might be the continuous worry that you are not performing ‘up to standard.’ Or it could be any one of a hundred other things.
The important thing is that you try to identify just what the most stressful parts of your day really are. Once you do this you can start working on each problem individually.
- Take a Break – Working through your breaks is not productive. The longer you go between actually getting away from it all for a few minutes, the more frustrated you will become.
- Have an energising smoothie, or fruit juice: The Pub is Not the Answer – Many people feel that if they can just have a pint or a glass of wine or two at the end of the day everything will be OK (until tomorrow). Alcohol is not a good way to manage stress though and neither is running out for a cigarette to ‘calm you down’ when things get just a bit too much at work.
- Regular Exercise – Exercise is not just good for your physical health but its a big boost for your mental well-being too. If you don’t usually do it you might be very surprised just how much better you feel after something as simple as a ten-minute walk at lunchtime.
- Have a Massage – Study after study has shown the significant mental and physical benefits to be gained from a massage, and stress relief is a big part of that.
Some employers have been savvy enough to realise that massage is indeed a stress buster. By offering massage in the workplace they can actually increase employee productivity by decreasing stress (as well as the nagging musculoskeletal issues that cause so much absence).
If you are not lucky enough to have an enlightened boss, take the initiative and find a good massage therapist yourself. It’s an investment in your health and good health is priceless.