Downsize Your Work Stress

Job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems, and 40 percent of workers report their job is very or extremely stressful. Stress can be particularly dangerous during pregnancy; many studies have suggested that high levels of stress may contribute to pregnancy complications like preterm labor and low birth weight. Most of us can’t stop working, so we have to find a way to bring our work stress down to a manageable and healthy level. The following tips will help you downsize your work stress:

Take a Break – Use your daily breaks and annual vacation, even if you feel like you’re negatively affecting your productivity. Taking a break will recharge you and actually increase productivity in the long run.

Feed Your Brain – Drink plenty of water during the day and keep healthy snacks at your desk to help avoid energy slumps. Avoid the quick-fix lure of caffeine and high-sugar snacks in the vending machine; they may temporarily spike your energy level, but will ultimately cause you to crash and stress out.

Get Your Heart Pumping – Take a few minutes every hour to walk briskly around your block, stretch at your desk, or pump some 5-pound hand weights. Just taking a moment to close your eyes and breathe deeply can help relax you and lower stress levels. And be sure to get in your 30 minutes of cardio 3 to 5 days a week, plus 2 to 3 days of strength training to help relieve and combat stress.

Get Organized – Letting yourself put off work and get behind schedule can increase your stress and cause you to feel overwhelmed. Make lists, draw diagrams, block out time – whatever you need to get things done and stay on task.

Keep Some Perspective – Of course, your job is important, but so is your health. You can always find another job, but not another body. Think positively and concentrate on what you have accomplished so far. Triage the work you have to do and focus on that which you can feasibly finish in the time allotted.

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