Handling stress

February 1, 2010

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.