Happy Labor Day!
Sometimes called “second-hand stress,” the stress you are exposed to at work really makes a difference. Researchers at Harvard and Stanford recently completed a study to analyze the impact of workplace stress on your health.
The study, conducted by Joel Goh, Jeffrey Pfeffer, and Stefanos Zenios, analyzed the findings of 228 scientific studies. They found that stress from work can be as bad for you as second-hand smoke. In fact, 120,000 deaths each year, and $190 billion in healthcare costs are linked to it.
That’s a big deal!
So, what should you be on the lookout for? These are the 10 workplace stressors the study considered:
- Work family conflict
- Job insecurity
- Shift work
- Long working hours
- Low levels of fairness at work
- Low levels of control at work
- High job demands
- Lack of employer provided healthcare
- Layoffs and unemployment
- Low social support at work
You’re probably wondering — what does this mean for you? First of all, if you’re interviewing for a job, be on the lookout for these signs. If you spot too many of them, it may not be the job for you.
If you’re already working someplace that has a high level of workplace stress, there are things you can do. It’s important to focus your energy on what you can control, as many of the things on the list are outside of your control. Remember that even when the environment isn’t great (and other people are jerks), you can control your own behavior. Take the time to be kind to those around you.
Another thing that can make a big difference is your financial safety net. Often, work stress is compounded when you know that if anything happened to your job, you’d be toast. It can make you feel like you can’t leave, and that feeling makes everything worse. It takes time, but try to build a six to twelve month emergency fund. This is a fund that stays in a savings account and is separate from your retirement. That way, when the stock market fluctuates, you’ll be safe.
Beyond creating a financial cushion, you should also take the time to take care of YOU. Below are tips for self-care that can help to reduce your overall stress level.
- Get enough sleep. We often underestimate the power of eight hours of solid sleep.
- Practice healthy eating and drinking habits. Fast food or binge drinking will only contribute to your stress. Be conscious of what you’re feeding your body.
- Exercise, or take a walk. Working out has benefits to both your body and your mind.
- Practice yoga or meditation. It can help to calm your mind, and help your entire body to feel better.
- Talk to your loved ones. Having social support is one of the most important components of dealing with work stress.
- Set personal goals. You may not be able to control your workplace today, but you can certainly control your future.
Successfully managing your stress is just as important as any other part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth. If you take the time to take care of you, you’ll be happier and healthier, even when things at work are stressful.
However, if you find yourself waking up each day with dread, or crying at work, it may be time to look for something new. The same applies to a work environment with a boss who makes you feel unsafe, or who is being a bully toward you. If you find yourself in one of these dead end situations, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m happy to help.
Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.