Health Library

Categories > Mental and Emotional Health > Stress management

Job-stress slowdown

Fax machines, cell phones, modems and the Internet were created to make our lives easier. The theory is that the faster things get done, the more time we’ll have for leisure activities. The irony, of course, is that modern conveniences have helped make workplace stress one of the biggest health concerns today. The physical effects of chronic tension—elevated blood pressure and heart rate, knotted muscles and digestive problems—have taken their toll on people’s well-being.

What’s the problem?

In most cases, it’s not the actual work that stresses employees, it’s the amount of it. Downsizing, expansions and high turnover rates are doubling people’s workloads—and tightening deadlines.

What’s more, workers are frustrated by their lack of decision-making powers. Being forced to work on a project without having any say in its direction lowers morale and productivity. Letting these tense situations go unresolved keeps workers in a constant “rush” state.

Get a grip on it

  • Go for better health. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and limit high-fat foods to keep your body strong. Daily physical activity will help you let off steam and give you more energy, confidence and a better outlook.
  • Make friends. At work or at home, uncork your frustrations by talking with a confidant. A friend who has been in a similar position may be able to offer savvy advice.
  • Take a break. Unwind with a week’s vacation or even a long weekend. When you come back you’ll be more refreshed and able to handle your work situation.
  • Pick your battles. Some things are just not worth getting angry about. When it comes to voicing your complaints, choose wisely.
  • Control your time. Prioritize your tasks and make a daily to-do list. Set realistic deadlines and plan ahead. If you are overbooked, delegate work to other co-workers and learn to say “no.” Keep your manager informed about your progress and any possible delays.
  • Look around. If management won’t take your concerns seriously, you may want to start a job search. Keep in mind, however, that looking for and starting a new job may add to your stress levels. To prevent future job-related anxiety, make sure both you and your new employer are clear on your role and responsibilities.