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Is Your Job Making You Sick?

By Maurie Backman - Feb 5, 2018 at 10:34AM

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Work-related stress is on the rise. Here's how to combat it.

We all know that stress is a part of life. But apparently, a growing number of Americans are experiencing their fair share of it as a result of their jobs. In a 2017 survey by the American Psychological Association, 61% of respondents said they're stressed on the job, making work the third most common source of stress overall. Furthermore, 37% of workers reported that they experience chronic work stress -- meaning, it's there all the time, and not just as a result of specific projects or deadlines.

If you're suffering from job-related stress, you should know that there are ways to address the problem. And the sooner you do, the better.

Man holding his head, looking at a desk full of papers


1. Get organized

Part of the reason so many workers find themselves stressed is that they're constantly up against deadlines with limited time to accomplish everything they need to get done. If this sounds like you, then getting more organized might help alleviate some of the anxiety you might be feeling.

At the start of each week, map out your priorities and then create a schedule that affords you enough time to get them done. Then, pledge to stick to that schedule, even if it means letting a small batch of non-urgent emails pile up or waiting an extra day or two to return voice mails. Being more organized with your time will help you make the most of it, thus eliminating one source of work stress.

2. Take breaks

It's noble to want to power through your assignments day in, day out, especially in the face of looming deadlines. But if you don't give yourself a reasonable break in between, you're likely to burn out. A better bet? Schedule in one or two 15-minute breaks per day, and use that time to leave the office and get a bit of fresh air. That small amount of breathing room might just lower your stress level a notch.

3. Celebrate your accomplishments

When you're busy at work, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks you're responsible for. That's why it's so important to stop here and there and take note of your accomplishments. Doing so will serve two purposes. First, it'll remind you that are indeed capable of getting things done, even if the work at hand seems daunting. Second, it'll give you something to feel good about, which can improve your outlook on a whole.

4. Ask for support

If you come to find that you're constantly stressed at work, and that nothing you do seems to help the situation, then it may be time to sit down with your manager or HR representative and come clean about your feelings. Tell your boss or HR partner about the various challenges you've been facing and ask for advice on how to tackle them. Your manager is a particularly good resource to tap, because he or she might be able to suggest ways to streamline your workflow or tackle certain tasks more efficiently.

Another benefit of sharing your stress load with your boss? He or she might realize how overworked you are and offer to take a few things off your plate. And having fewer assignments to worry about might help decrease your general anxiety level.

Though the occasional bout of job-related stress is to be expected, constant anxiety about work just plain isn't healthy. So if that's what you're feeling, take steps to do something about it. Your health and happiness depend on it.

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