work related stress

Work related stress is real. And why would that so difficult to imagine? Waking up every single day and going to a job you don’t like can wear on you. After all, this is close to half your waking life. We’re talking 2080 hours per year for a 40 hour per week job. That is a lot of discomfort.

Work related stress is not only real, it is hazardous to your health. I had a client who placed an order, called me to explain how he needed to get out of a high stress situation because of what it was doing to his health, and one month later he was dead. I spoke with him a couple of times on the phone. He was a great guy with a great outlook on the future. He just could not get out in time.

One study revealed that 83% of people are stressed about at least one aspect of their job. Between the lack of job security, low pay and increased workloads after the 2008 economic collapse, it is a wonder that number isn’t higher.

Of course, everyone’s financial situation is different, but I believe any job that is slowly draining the life out of you (and sometimes not so slowly) should be kicked to the curb immediately. Creditors be damned. However, if you feel you must stay in the high stress environment, here are some tips for your survival:

  • Plan your day around minimizing interruptions. Every email doesn’t need to be answered right away. In fact experts have recommended answering your emails twice per day. Also, do what you can to schedule as many of your calls at the same time as possible.
  • Take advantage of breaks minimize the mundane existence. Frequent breaks also help to refresh your brain, refresh your perspective, and increase your productivity.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of exercise and a good night’s rest in keeping you on an even keel. In fact exercise has been proven to produce endorphins, which aids in improving sleep. Exercise is also a great mood enhancer and fights depression.
  • Avoid focusing on potential problems that have not materialized. It has been said that “fear is not real and the only place it can exist is in our thoughts of the future, causing us to worry about things that at present, and may not ever, exist“.  We often build up stressful situations in our heads about how a boss or co-worker will react to something, or how a particular project may get completed. Cross that bridge when you come to it. Practice keeping the focus on real issues and let the prospective ones go until they become tangible issues.
  • Hobbies outside of work are a great way to turn off the part of your brain that deals with workplace stuff. When you get off of work, it is good to have something else in which to pour your mental resources.
  • Socialize outside of work. Good conversation with friends over a glass of wine is a great way to let the worries of the day or the week just wash away. Maybe the bar around the corner has a trivia night, or the small local playhouse has had a live performance you can attend every now and again.

According to the Observer, a magazine put out by the Association for Psychological Science, stress can cause deterioration in several areas of your personal health, including your heart. It also makes own more likely to fall victim to illnesses from the common law cold to cancer. It’s time to change the focus to YOU. Regardless of what Mitt Romney says, corporations are not people and are as a body only concerned with one thing, profits. And once you drop dead, they will simply pack your things and insert another cog to keep those profits coming in.

But again, my vote is that if a job is that bad, you don’t need to be there. But that’s just me.