Work-Life Balance

How workplace stress affects your health and natural ways to cope

Written by Guest Contributor

“Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This ever-present quote gives the idea that if you find your dream job, work won’t feel like labor.

If only it were that easy.

Recent studies have shown that more than 75% of employees in the U.S. feel stressed at work, or experience occupational stress. While there are different types of occupational stress including an employee’s job role and company culture, many of them have similar causes including:

  • Being overworked
  • Conflicts among other individuals
  • Lack of support from the HR department
  • Workforce micromanagement and mismanagement
  • No occupational guidance or direction

Whatever the case may be, the effects of occupational stress can have negative impacts on employees, the employer and the overall company culture. Here are some physical signs of stress and how to naturally manage it all.

How stress affects your health

Not only does workplace stress distract you from being productive, but it can also have long-term health effects on your mind and body. If certain symptoms are experienced over a long period of time, but steps are not taken to aid in relieving them, serious health problems ranging from high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease, could occur. Some of the most common symptoms related to workplace stress are:

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach

With some of the more serious symptoms including:

  • Increased levels of anxiety
  • Sadness or depression
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Sleep problems
  • Social withdrawal

While stress at work is likely to be occasional for just about everyone, it is important to keep track of how often you experience stress and whether or not it is increasingly getting worse.

Natural ways to cope with workplace stress

Many people prefer to steer away from prescription medications that are used to treat the anxiety, depression and sleep problems that come along with severe stress; and are likely to search for ways in which they can cope more naturally. There are many natural ways in which one can cope with workplace stress. Here are some ideas:

  • Engage in physical activity: Exercise increases the production of endorphins in your brain, providing a sense of well-being and euphoria. It also improves your body’s ability to use oxygen and improves blood flow. People who partake in physical exercise consistently report that they have a heightened sense of well-being and energy.
  • Make time for family and friends: Maintaining a social life has a positive impact on your brainpower; improving memory formation and protecting from neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Consider CBD oil: Many people tend to increase their use of drugs and alcohol when they experience heightened levels of stress, which studies show to negatively affect many parts of the body including your brain, liver, heart, etc. CBD oil, which contains no THC, is a natural supplement to consider, as it has shown to decrease nicotine cravings, reduce recreational drug dependency and possibly replace prescription anti-anxiety medications. It’s important to note that you should ALWAYS consult with your primary care doctor before taking or adding any supplements to your daily routine.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Techniques like deep breathing and meditation may lead to positive changes in key areas of the brain. People who practice meditation reported that they have experienced a decreased level of stress and an overall increase in perception and feeling, which can be directly related to the decrease of brain cell volume in the amygdala.
  • Sleep your stress away: Following a regular sleep routine helps to calm and restore the body, allowing your body to respond more clearly to daily stressors and handle them appropriately.

Occasional stress can be a common result of working hard on an upcoming project, preparing for a big meeting, or going through a new training program; however, experiencing frequent occupational stress can lead to many possible health issues that could be hard to reverse. While combating workplace stress can’t and won’t happen overnight, if you are someone experiencing it, taking control of the stress should become a priority. Your mind and body will thank you later.

About the Author:
Emerson Blake is a freelance writer from North Carolina. As both a fur-mom and a mommy, she enjoys spending time with family and exploring all that nature has to offer. A lover of art and fitness, Emerson can be found browsing her favorite tattoo artists’ Instagram pages or at one of the local pilates studios. 

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Guest Contributor