Stress-free or stressful?

Do you get a good, eight hour sleep every night?

Are your employer and colleagues the best you could ask for?

Do you leave work every Friday evening and not think about it throughout the weekend?

Is your job the most satisfying part of your day?

Do you enjoy any hobbies or recreational activities?

If yes, then you belong to the happy minority. According to the American Psychological Association (APA)[1] 65% of U.S employees experience work-related stress. The longer you experience stress, the more profound its effects. On an individual level chronic stress affects emotional and physical health. On an organizational level it accounts for high absenteeism level and medical costs.  Living a stress-free life is a utopia yet you can short steps to work your way through it.

Identify what triggers stress

Even if you love your work, you still experience stress.  Excessive demands, an urgent deadline, demanding customers and supervisors, few opportunities for growth, low salary; all of the above constitute work stressors. Most of the time, work stressors go unnoticed since people take them as part of their everyday routine and adjust accordingly. Next time you feel overwhelmed with anxiety, remember to take a note on what triggered it and how you reacted it to it. Keeping a journal will help you identify a behavioral pattern thus making it easier to make improvements.

Do something good for you

When was the last time you did something good for yourself? If you have enough time to go online or watch TV late at night, then you have no excuses.  Give yourself time and place for something that you really enjoy and gives you pleasure. Learn how to take good care of yourself first both physically and emotionally. Keep a short diary as a reminder on when you succeeded in adding a healthy habit.  Embrace experimentation with new habits and see what happens. For example, avoid junk food in times of emotional turmoil and go for a short walk. If you have trouble sleeping, reduce caffeine-intake and unplug your TV or computer in the bedroom. Make your health, your first priority.

Simplicity

Keep it simple! People spend at least 8 hours of their day at work. During those 8 hours they experience anxiety, frustration, satisfaction, boredom -at some point, they are just tired. They do not need extra work at the end of day. They want to go home, have a good dinner and get some rest. If they are given something that requires extra effort and time, they will not do it. Integrate wellness technology with the technology your company uses. Make the task of physical and psychological screening attractive and fun.

Ask for your help

If you feel that you are trying hard to fulfill everyday tasks at work or personal life, then you should ask for help. Sharing is the best way to connect with people you trust and gain valuable insight on how to deal with what concerns you. You may also discuss it with your employer or supervisor and even propose ideas on how to work as a team to improve any work-related stressor.

Do not forget that living well is not a luxury. It is a never-ending process and a valuable task if you want to enjoy a fulfilling life.

Sophia Vassiliades, M.A. Clininal Psychologist/Counselor.

[1] http://www.apaexcellence.org/resources/special-topics/work-stress