According to The American Institute Of Stress or AIS, work-related stress causes one million workers to miss work per day and results in 120,000 deaths as well as billions of dollars in healthcare costs per year. Although stress in the workplace is common, it is not something to ignore. So, how do you cope with work-related stress and take care of yourself while attending to your job or career? Today, we will answer that question and talk about how to find help if you need it.
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What Is The Impact Of Stress?
Overwhelming stress levels have become so normalized that we don’t always keep the impacts of stress in mind. We all face stress from time to time, and stress responses are normal, adaptive parts of life, but prolonged stress in particular can have serious consequences.
Short-term impacts of stress may include but are not limited to headaches, gastrointestinal issues or distress, trouble sleeping, irritability, fatigue, changes in one’s sex drive, muscle tension, body aches, and difficulty focusing or concentrating. Impacts of long-term stress may include but are not limited to a higher risk of diabetes, ongoing issues with sleep, fatigue, pain, and other similar concerns, accelerated aging, a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, an increased risk of mental health conditions such as substance use disorders, anxiety, and depression, and even early mortality. Stress can cause social isolation or withdrawal, and in conjunction with stress-related impacts such as irritability, ongoing stress can impact your social life and relationships in serious ways.
On top of it all, the consequences of stress in the workplace are not limited to impacts that affect the individual worker or employee. When stress in the workplace occurs, it impacts a company as a whole. Not only does workplace stress lead to the aforementioned million missed workdays, but it can lead to a higher turnover rate and lower productivity.
How To Cope With Work-Related Stress
Here are some ways to cope with work-related stress:
- Set boundaries. Setting boundaries in the workplace can look a number of different ways. It might mean saying “no” when you need to, or it might mean refraining from checking your work phone after hours and on weekends.
- Implement stress-relief practices into your day. This will look different for everyone. Some examples of common, research-backed stress relief activities to try include but aren’t limited to meditation, yoga and many other forms of physical activity, art, stretching, journaling, gardening, reading, or progressive muscle relaxation.
- Use positive self-talk. Positive self-talk can help you to re-frame unhelpful or negative thought patterns, and it can help you cope with the tough times. If you struggle with thought reframe or self-talk, a therapist or counselor can help.
- Stay in touch with social connections. Setting aside time for those you love is important, and research shows that healthy, strong social relationships are positive for your mental and physical well-being.
- Make change. If you have the power to make change, use it. Not everyone is in a situation where they can speak up in the workplace, but if you are – or if you’re in a relevant leadership position – it’s important to do what you can to support employee mental health and decrease stress in the workplace.
If you’re struggling to cope with stress, want to talk about stress but don’t know where to turn, don’t feel like it’s possible to decrease stress in your life, are facing prolonged stress, or are facing other matters related to stress,a therapist or counselor can help. In addition to supporting people coping with stress or going through a hard time in the workplace, therapy can help with a wide range of other concerns, including but not limited to symptoms of mental health conditions, difficulty in interpersonal relationships, familial issues, grief and loss, coping with life shifts or changes, and so much more. There are a number of ways to find a therapist. You can ask your doctor for a referral, contact your insurance company to see who they cover, utilize an employee assistance program if applicable, search the web, use an online directory, or sign up for a reliable online therapy platform with licensed providers. Regardless of how you find a therapist, you deserve to get the support that you need, so don’t hesitate to take the first step and reach out today.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.