Stressed Out? It May Be Your Job
"I'm stressed out."
If you find yourself thinking--or saying--this on a regular
basis, you might have a real problem on your hands. Job and
career related stress has been on the rise in recent years,
as occupations become more complex, and workers are taking
on more and more responsibility. In fact, workplace stress
is now considered an occupational illness. Many employees
undergo stress as a normal part of their jobs, but some
experience it more severely than others, to the point that
they need time away from work.
According to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
extreme occupational stress is classified as a "neurotic
reaction to stress." The survey found that thousands of
such cases are reported every year. The median absence from
work for these cases was 23 days, more than four times the
level of all nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses.
And more than two-fifths of the cases resulted in 31 or more
lost workdays, compared to one-fifth for all injury and
Not surprisingly, the level of workplace stress seems to be
tied directly to the worker's occupation. In fact, just
four industries accounted for the bulk of occupational
stress cases: Services (35 percent), manufacturing (21
percent), retail trade (14 percent), and finance, insurance,
and real estate (12 percent).
In general, white-collar occupations had a higher proportion
of stress cases than both blue-collar and service
occupations combined. Managerial and professional
occupations, with 16 percent of the cases, and technical,
sales, and administrative support occupations with 48
percent, the highest proportions of occupational stress
If you're stressed out, you need to look at ways to reduce
that stress before it has a negative effect on your health.
High levels of stress, over time, can lead to sleeping
disorders, high blood pressure, and other physical problems.
If you think your work environment is too stressful, bring
the subject up with your boss or supervisor. See if there
isn't some way of reducing your workload, or taking away a
few responsibilities so that you don't feel overwhelmed on
the job. If you feel yourself getting stressed out at work,
try relaxing and breathing slowly and deeply for a few
minutes and see if this doesn't calm you down.
Away from work, exercise is a great stress reducer. For many
people, a brisk walk in the evening is enough to unwind them
after a tough day on the job. I've found that yoga works
wonders for me after a tense work day. After a half an hour
doing yoga poses and breathing exercises, I feel refreshed,
and I sleep much better at night. Other people relax by
playing sports, or socializing with friends, or playing with
No matter how you relieve stress, just do it. You'll feel a
lot better, both physically and mentally. And if you can't
find a way to manage your stress levels at work, you might
need to think about finding another job.
Kent Johnson - author, publisher, career coach.
"Helping people realize their dreams one career at a time."
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