Alicia Skiles, MS, NCC, Professional Counselor

Healthcare SeriesStress is a universal experience. It is part of every stage of development throughout the human life-span. Stress can be good, pressuring you to meet a challenge in your environment and stress can be bad, creating unresolved anxiety. Sometimes it can be both good and bad, prompting you to advocate for your rights. Most of us can readily think of an example of stress in our lives.

Stress at work takes many forms. It might be high workload, co-worker conflict or unclear expectations from a supervisor. The signs and symptoms of stress at work are often the same as stress in other areas of our lives.

Acute stress, stress that lasts for a short amount of time can cause sleeplessness, racing thoughts, increased heart rate and other unpleasant side effects. Chronic stress or stress that is ongoing can cause anxiety problems, insomnia, hypertension and other more complex issues.

If you think you might be experiencing stress at work a few steps you can take include:

  1. Keep track of your stressors. Notes in your planner or phone calendar can help you recognize patterns of stress.
  2. Talk with a trusted friend about what you are going through.
  3. Learn about your work place initiatives for health.
  4. Engage in healthy activities such as taking a walk on your break or eating healthy, nutrient packed foods.
  5. If appropriate, talk to your supervisor about what you are experiencing.
  6. You may even seek professional help if you believe your work stress is on-going and disrupting your daily routines or straining your close relationships.

60 second challenge: Take a minute to reflect on your work environment and work relationships. Jot down a list of stressors. As you look over this list, consider what you might want to change or further reflect on. Are there any healthy coping strategies you could do this week, today, right now?