According to NIOSH, research has found that stress can increase employees’ risk of developing cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal disorders, particularly in the back and upper extremities. Some preliminary studies suggest a link between stress and the development of ulcers, cancer and impaired immune function.
So what can employees do to better manage their stress levels at work? NIOSH recommends:
- Develop a strong social support system in the workplace. A co-worker or other ally who is available to help talk through problems can help put things in perspective and minimize stress.
- Take a break to avoid “burnout.” Even something as brief as a walk around the block can help clear your head and distance you from stressors, enabling you to return to the job with a fresh outlook.
- Set realistic expectations for the amount of work you can complete in the time you have available. Do not attempt to take on more than you can reasonably handle.
- Recognize you are not perfect and every minor detail in your work will not be perfect either.
- Try to remain organized and keep your work area free of clutter, which can add to stress.
- Avoid negativity and negative people, and try to maintain a positive attitude about your work and your co-workers.