During a hectic day at work, do you ever find yourself riddled with stress you can't resolve? In earlier years, my sure fire strategy for stress prevention/relief was my very own “Chocolate Drawer” only to be used in dire stress emergencies (of course), well, and as a post-breakfast snack, lunch dessert, and afternoon bite. A work-inhibiting mental block was no obstacle when chocolate was easily accessible. For quite some time, I thought this was a viable option; until I realized that my strategy was classified as stress-eating... We all have stress, yes. But the question is: how do we handle it, in a healthy way.

According to the American Heart Association, “stress definitely affects our bodies. In addition to the emotional discomfort we feel when faced with a stressful situation, our bodies react by releasing stress hormones…making the heart beat faster and constricting blood vessels to get more blood to the core of the body.”

Stress isn’t helping our health. So, let's try eliminating some. How can employers help?

Positive Work Environment!

According to a study done by NIOSH, 40% of job turnover is due to stress. Poor working conditions can often be a factor. By establishing a positive atmosphere, stress levels are likely to decrease and as a result, employees are more likely to enjoy coming to work. Taken from my experience, there are a variety of programs companies can adopt in order to extract such a response.

  • Free company luncheons to promote socialization
  • Active “Open Door Policy” to articulate problems
  • Social Events, such as holiday parties or picnics, to foster company assimilation
  • Mentorship programs and frequent trainings to increase employee knowledge and productivity
  • Gym discounts to encourage health

By offering many company-instituted benefits, employees will want to work at the organization, employee engagement will go up, and work-related stress will decrease. But it doesn’t just stop on a company’s end. We, as employees, also need to take steps in order to deal with stress. Here’s a reminder of some things to do:

  • DO NOT have a “Chocolate Drawer” - Leads to way too many exceptions…
  • Take a breather - Taking two minutes to stand up, stretch and clear your mind, can really put you back on track.
  • Keep your schedule and task list up-to-date – Maintaining an organized schedule of to-dos and their due dates will help you prioritize and complete work on time.
  • Ask questions – You are not required to know everything about everything. If you are unsure, just ask a coworker or your manager. I promise you won’t get in trouble.
  • Relax – Have confidence. You have worked hard, so you can do your job. Just continue to put forth your best foot.
  • Make friends – Considering you spend a majority of your week with your fellow coworkers, get to know them! Enjoying your colleagues can make a world of difference.

If both companies and their workers make an effort, a positive, stress-free environment will ensue. So, just remember positive work environment = lower stress levels = happy and healthy

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