If you work in a particularly stressful environment, you may be suffering from chronic stress and not even know it. Chronic stress occurs from repeated exposure to stressful situations, and this type of stress is not what are bodies are designed to handle. When our bodies are continuously stressed we release stress-related hormones, such as Cortisol, which can lead to health conditions like heart disease and obesity. Long-term stress causes a wear and tear on your mind and body, and ultimately leads to more severe health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, depression, and obesity. An individual’s job is one of the leading contributors to chronic stress. However, by taking actions to properly manage our stress the negative effects can be avoided.
- Eat a balanced diet. Also, don’t forget breakfast! Make sure you are including enough protein, fiber, and water in your daily diet.
- Engage in exercise. Physical activity is a great way to increase our endorphin levels which naturally results in the feeling of happiness.
- Take a multivitamin. Multivitamins rich in vitamin C and B have been proven to help reduce stress.
- Take time to laugh. Humor is a great way to relieve stress! Take some time throughout the day to laugh – you don’t have to be overly “professional” 24/7. Read a joke or look at funny pictures with your co-workers for a couple minutes. When we laugh our endorphin levels increase, releasing a “feel good” vibe.
- Clear your mind. Step away from the computer for a moment and take a slow walk while incorporating deep breaths. Remove your mind from the problem at hand and just allow yourself a moment to calm down and bring your body back to homeostasis.
- Get some fresh air. Remarkably, fresh air is actually an amazing stress reliever! If you find yourself under the crushing grip of stress, treat yourself to a short walk outside. You may even try suggesting that you have your next office meeting at the picnic table in the courtyard.
- Go to bed earlier. Like most aspects of health, make sure you’re getting enough sleep! During the hours of 10pm-2am is the best time for restorative and reparative sleep.
If you have implemented some of these techniques and you still find yourself under a lot of stress, then find out if your employer offers employee health programs related to stress management. 75-90% of all visits to primary care physicians are related to the adverse effects of chronic stress which directly results in less productivity and can greatly impact your performance in the workplace. By making simple adjustments to your lifestyle you can manage stress and live a healthier life.