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How to Get Rid of Work-Related Stress.

Updated: May 31, 2023

If work is getting you down, you're not alone. According to the American Psychological Association, 69 % of employees say that work is a significant source of stress and 41% say they typically feel tense or stressed out during the workday.

As employees are asked to do more with less, on-the-job stress is on the rise. Metlife reports that 40% of employees said their workload had increased in the past.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines job-related stress as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. If you have it, you probably know it - early warning signs include headache, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, short temper, upset #stomach, job dissatisfaction, and low morale. Research indicates that unresolved job stress can lead to cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and psychological disorders such as depression and burnout.

What causes job stress? According to CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), although individuals' characteristics (such as personality and coping style) are a contributing factor, working conditions play a primary role. So, developing personal stress-reduction skills (such as time management and relaxation techniques) may be helpful, but since these techniques don't address the crux of the problem, the beneficial effects are often short-lived. NIOSH has found that addressing the #workenvironment is the most direct way to reduce stress at work. This involves identifying the stressors, such as excessive workload and conflicting expectations, and designing strategies to reduce or eliminate the stressors.

Enter Mike Limauro, executive coach and owner of Renewal Road based in Charlotte, Michigan. Limauro focuses primarily on reducing the causes of #stress in the workplace. "I coach the CEO and the executive team to help them develop a cohesive leadership team to run the company", Limauro explains. "This process includes identifying their long-term strategic direction and their plan for getting there. Even the best team with the best plan won't be successful unless it executes the plan." Communication is key, he says.

In fact, effective communication is one of the most difficult challenges in the #workplace and when not achieved, it's a major cause of stress. "Even successful organizations struggle with it", says Limauro. "They do it well occasionally, but to be effective, communication must be frequent, consistent, and use diverse approaches to reach everyone in the organization." When leaders fail to communicate properly, people rely on gossip and their imaginations and most people imagine the worst, "which is like pouring gasoline on a small fire", says Limauro. "Before you know it, what started out as a manageable problem can threaten the entire business. So stress not only hurts the employees, but it can also kill the #organization. "

Limauro teaches the executive team how to consistently communicate the strategic plan to the employees who are charged with implementing it. "It sounds simple enough", he says. "But you'd be surprised how many companies don't share their plans with their employees. And many companies who do tell employees what the plan is don't include employees in the planning process: Employees are simply told what to do. Often, these same employees receive no #feedback on how well they're doing until they do something wrong." The result? Uncertainty, fear, and stress for the employee and low productivity and high turnover for the employer.

Common sources of major job stress:

  • Feeling a lack of control over work or job duties

  • Increased responsibility/workload

  • Job dissatisfaction; insecurity regarding job performance

  • Uncertainty about work roles

  • Poor #communication

  • Lack of support from management or coworkers

  • Poor (unpleasant or dangerous) working conditions

While working on causes of stress due to the work environment, Limauro also teaches practical techniques like meditation to help the leadership team and the employees manage the stress. "When facing a stressful situation, you have three choices: change it, leave it or accept it", he says. For many people, however, it's not feasible to change their work conditions or leave their job. The third option - accepting a situation that causes harmful stress - requires an internal shift in attitude. Limauro believes the best tool for achieving this kind of shift is meditation.

In the latest release from BOCA Recovery Center, they suggest a few measures to counter the effect of stress on the body including:

  • Seek professional help when you are feeling anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed.

  • Keep up with your health using preventative medicine, such as routine checkups, screenings, and dental appointments.

  • Limit alcohol, tobacco, and substance use.

  • Use your support system when needed.

  • Consider holistic and alternative relaxation techniques, including massage therapy, yoga, mindfulness meditation, and breathing techniques.

  • Set limits to avoid being overwhelmed.

  • Work toward a positive outlook and mindset.

  • Maintain a healthy social support network.

  • Be sure to get enough sleep each night and set a sleep schedule.

  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet.

  • Engage in regular exercise.

When stress is managed properly long-term and chronic stress levels can be better tolerated and minimized.

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