Workplace stress has been linked to serious health problems — including heart attack. Your body releases greater amounts of the hormone cortisol in response to stress — stimulating an increased appetite for high-fat, high-sugar foods, and increasing fat storage in the abdomen.
Shake It Off
You can let yourself get wound up and upset about things that happen at work — or you can respond differently. Instead of stewing about a project that was dumped on you, could you view it as an opportunity to showcase your skills, talent, and teamwork — or speak with your supervisor? Instead of letting one grumpy customer get you down, can you focus on the 50 grateful customers you helped today? Take a few full, deep breaths to clear your mind and proceed down a more positive path.
Practice Smart Self-Care
Regular exercise and good nutrition — along with time for fun and relaxation —boosts your ability to cope with stress. And when you’re well-rested, stressors are more manageable. Consider taking a walk at break time, or meeting a friend for lunch. Learn relaxation breathing and stretching exercises to do at your desk. Choose high-energy, nutritious foods for meals and snacks. Cultivate a healthy sense of humor; look for the laughable moments in everyday life at work.
Make a Change
Life is too short to spend it in a toxic workplace — and living with chronic stress isn’t a long-term solution. No job is stress-free, but if your current job isn’t a good match for your interests, talents, and goals, create a plan to move on. Paint a realistic picture of your dream job by talking with others in your desired line of work before you make the leap.
If your best efforts don’t reduce your stress and talking with your manager doesn’t help, seek advice from your human resources department or employee relations representative. Some employers offer employee assistance programs (EAP) that provide confidential, 24/7 phone consultation with professional counselors for personal matters and workplace issues. If your employer offers this benefit, don’t hesitate to use it.