by Bentz P. Tozer, Jr., B.S., CPT
Stress is an unavoidable part of life. According to the American Psychological Association, seven out of ten people say they experience stress daily, with most of them saying it negatively interferes with their lives.
Learning how to cope with and manage stress levels is important, because it can affect us both physically &emotionally, and can cause workplace issues as well. While jobs and careers provide an income and a sense of accomplishment, they also contribute to high stress levels. Performance expectations, deadlines, multiple responsibilities & trying to balance your professional life with your personal life can easily become overwhelming if you don’t learn how to manage stress.
Unmanaged job stress can lead to “burnout”, which, according to the APA (American Psychological Association) is a condition of emotional exhaustion and a negative attitude toward your job and co-workers. Burnout can lead to depression, which has been associated with other serious health issues like strokes and heart disease. Stress can also affect work performance by affecting your ability to concentrate on physical or mental tasks, or hindering your ability to learn new policies or procedures. This can cause costly or dangerous mistakes on the job. In addition, health issues that can stem from stress may cause illness-related work absences which contributes to your stress levels, due to concerns about work piling up while you are gone, or worrying about being laid off or fired.
So what can you do to keep your stress at a low & manageable level? One of the best ways to “de-stress” is exercise. In addition to simply being good for you, exercise releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormones which counteract the negative effects of stress. Exercise also stretches and loosens tight muscles. This can help relieve stress headaches or neck & back pain. Exercise is also a great way to distract your from your problems. Focusing on the exercise and the goal you are trying to reach allows you to stop thinking about work or personal issues. This gives you a break from the stress. Physical exertion will also tire you out, which will improve your sleep, which in turn reduces stress levels.
The best way to get started with an exercise routine is to pick an activity that you like or have an interest in. It could be swimming, yoga, strength training, or even simply taking a short walk at lunchtime. The ADAA (Anxiety & Depression Association of America) says that even ten minutes of exercise can create anti-stress effects.
Learning how to manage stress will have a positive effect on your physical & mental health. Contact a professional to get started today!
Be Well Tips:
- Contact a physician before beginning any exercise program.
- Pick an activity you like.
- Take short breaks throughout the workday.
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
- Consult a professional to get a customized program.