Workplace stress is a serious subject. According to a survey from the American Psychological Association, more than one third of American workers experience chronic work stress — and this is costing American businesses billions of dollars a year in lost work hours and medical bills. More importantly, all this worrying at work can have serious consequences for our quality of life — not only at the office, but everywhere else as well. So how do we regain our sanity and take back our lives?
After a combined 40 years in the working world as a business owner, we’ve learned a thing or two about workplace stress and burnout — and about the importance of managing stress so it doesn’t take over our lives. In honor of Stress Awareness Month, which runs throughout April this year, so we want to share with you the formulas I’ve discovered for managing workplace stress.
Letting go of the ‘Invicibility’ myth
As we begin to address workplace stress, we need to start by reminding ourselves that 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 were lucky to make it out of our teens alive, what with our cavalier attitude toward mortality.
At some point (usually in our late 20s or early 30s), many of us start to realize we aren’t actually 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 over how great the front yard looks, or lying awake worrying about missing a deadline at work.
But it turns out the “adult” stuff can be just as dangerous as driving too fast. We work 60-plus hours a week as if there are no consequences. We run around creating the perfect household, trying to be the perfect partner, the perfect parent, or the 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. In fact, stress is responsible for 75-90 percent of all doctor’s office visits. Stress contributes to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and autoimmune diseases.
In other words, stress shouldn’t be ignored. The good news is, coping with stress is actually pretty simple.
Three-step plan for managing workplace stress
To effectively manage stress, we need to address it in at least three areas of our lives: our physical health, our mental health, and our sense of purpose. Below, I’ve detailed stress-relieving tips for each of these areas.
This post is an excerpt from Laurie Erdman, JD, MS, CHHC who is an expert coach, speaker, and writer who works with companies and individuals to extinguish burnout and unleash potential and profitability. Read the full article on Greatist