A new study reminds us of the absolute importance of office stress relief. Researchers from a BioMed Central Public Health study found that stressful workplaces result in higher doctor’s visits–both to general practitioners and to specialist. In other words, if you have a high-stress job, you’ll probably notice that you have more illnesses, aches and pains.
Of course, that’s not news. I think it’s intuitive that high-stress situations make us sick.
But what can you do about it? If your work is stressful, how can you find office stress relief?
There was a time when my first advice would be to consider whether you want to continue your job. Obviously this should be considered if it’s possible. But with the economy so terrible, many people can’t leave their jobs and need to figure out how to cope with the job they have.
Stress Relief at the Office
The first line of attack is finding physical stress relief. Can you use your breaks and lunch as a time to rejuvenate? Can you take a walk or read or meditate. Years ago I worked in an office that was in a warehouse. There was a bare attic room that wasn’t used for anything. I cleaned it up and used it for a 20 minute yoga session during my lunch break.
It’s important to remember to move and stretch to keep your body relaxed. Get up from your computer at least once/hour. Stretch your back and shoulders. Do a twist. Keep your body moving.
Remember to eat well and drink lots of water (not coffee or soda!). Good nutrition helps your body cope with office stress more efficiently.
Reduce Office Stessors
The second way to find office stress relief is by removing, reducing or avoiding the stressors that make your job uncomfortable. Can you delegate some of your work? Can you re-define the scope of your work? Can you renegotiate a deadline that’s unrealistic? You may not have lots of control of your job, but take advantage of any ways you can customize your workload to be less stressful.
If the stress is interpersonal, can you find a new way to work with your nemesis? Sometimes a small tweak in how you react to someone changes the dynamic significantly. Get help or advice from someone you trust.
It may seem hard to find office stress relief but without it, your chance of ending up in a doctor’s office rises significantly. If you like your good health, take your office stress seriously.