Is work overwhelming? Do you dread going to work? Stress at work can carry over into your life outside of work as well.
WHAT CAUSES STRESS AT WORK?
These days, almost everyone complains of stress at work. This stress often results from one of the following:
- Having too much or too little work
- Having very complicated and demanding work
- Having boring and repetitive work
- Having unclear goals and expectations
- Having to follow changing or confusing procedures
- Being at a career dead end
- Working in a company with an impersonal management philosophy
HOW DOES WORK STRESS AFFECT WOMEN?
Both sexes experience stress; however, women are affected in some unique ways. Here are a few examples:
- Overall, women are still paid less than men for the same work.
- Women still face a “glass ceiling” as they climb the corporate ladder. A recent report states that only 2 percent of top management members in North American corporations are women.
- Women who choose to have children are usually responsible for the logistics of child care.
- Women with children often do more housework when they get home from their jobs than their husbands do.
- Compared to men, women with children tend to feel more guilty about leaving their children to go to work.
HOW TO MANAGE STRESS
Besides learning to deal with people in a more positive manner, you can do many other things, such as the following, to manage the stress in your life:
- Watch what you eat. Some foods amplify the stress response. These include:
- Caffeine, which stimulates the release of stress hormones, increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and the amount of oxygen going to the heart. However, ongoing exposure to caffeine can harm the tissue of the heart.
- Refined sugar, as well as processed flour, is depleted of needed vitamins. In times of stress, certain vitamins help maintain the nervous and endocrine systems.
- Too much salt, which can lead to excessive fluid retention, which, in turn, can lead to nervous tension and high blood pressure. Stress often exacerbates the problem of high blood pressure.
- Smoking, which not only causes disease and shortens life but leads to increased heart, blood pressure, and respiration rates.
- Alcohol, which robs the body of nutrients that it might otherwise use for cell growth and repair. Alcohol also harms the liver and adds empty calories to the body. During times of high stress, eat more complex carbohydrates (found in fruits, vegetables, whole breads, cereals, and beans).
- Get moving. The human body is designed to be physically active. In many jobs today, however, people are seated most of the time; they hardly move at all except to go to lunch or a coffee break. When faced with stressors, we respond with our minds, not our bodies. It is no wonder that many of us have a difficult time responding to stressful events. Exercise is one of the simplest, most effective ways to respond to stress. Activity provides a natural release for the body during its fight-or-flight state of arousal. After exercising, the body returns to its normal state of equilibrium, and one feels relaxed and refreshed.
- Look for ways to let go of tension and anxiety. Meditation and progressive relaxation are two valuable ways to regenerate and refresh yourself. Letting go of tension and anxiety is especially important, for your health and long life depend on minimizing stress and achieving a sense of balance and well-being. Here are 9 relaxation techniques.