By Bentz Tozer, Jr., B.S., CPT
Stress is an unavoidable part of life. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), seven out of 10 people say they experience stress daily, with most of them saying it negatively interferes with their lives.
Learning how to cope with and manage stress levels is important because it can affect us physically and emotionally and cause workplace issues. While jobs and careers provide an income and a sense of accomplishment, they also contribute to high-stress levels. Performance expectations, deadlines, multiple responsibilities and trying to balance your professional life with your personal life can easily become overwhelming if you don’t learn how to manage stress.
Unmanaged job stress can lead to burnout, which, according to the APA, is a condition of emotional exhaustion and a negative attitude toward your job and coworkers. Burnout can lead to depression, which has been associated with other serious health issues, like stroke and heart disease.
Stress can also affect work performance by suppressing your ability to concentrate on physical or mental tasks and hindering your ability to learn new policies or procedures. This can cause costly or dangerous mistakes on the job. In addition, health issues that can stem from stress may cause illness-related work absences, which can contribute to your stress levels due to concerns about work piling up while you are gone or worrying about being laid off or fired.
So what can you do to keep your stress at a low and manageable level?
One of the best ways to “de-stress” is to exercise.
In addition to simply being good for you, exercise releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones that counteract the negative effects of stress. Exercise also stretches and loosens tight muscles. This can help relieve stress headaches or neck and back pain. Exercise is also a great way to distract you from your problems. Focusing on the exercise and the goal you are trying to reach allows you to stop thinking about work or personal issues, which gives you a break from the stress. Physical exertion will also tire you out, which will improve your sleep and reduce stress levels.
The best way to get started with an exercise routine is to pick an activity that you like or in which you have an interest. It could be swimming, yoga, strength-training or even simply taking a short walk at lunchtime.
The Anxiety & Depression Association of America says that even 10 minutes of exercise can create anti-stress effects. Learning how to manage stress will have a positive effect on your physical and mental health.
Be Well Tips
– Contact a physician before beginning any exercise program.– Pick an activity you like.– Take short breaks throughout the workday.– Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.– Consult a professional to get a customized exercise program.