Although each day may technically be a new day, today brings the stresses of yesterday and the preparations of tomorrow. Nowadays a 40-hour work week is hard to come by, and going home without work is even harder to swing. With all of this added work comes added stress.
Untreated Employee Stress Is Bad for Business
Stress that is not dealt with properly can lead to negative outcomes. The outcome you will be least excited about is loss of productivity. Along with loss of productivity comes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, headaches, upset stomach, and chest pain, and it can even worsen certain ailments employees already have.
According to an annual Harris Interactive Attitudes in the American Workplace survey, 83% of Americans reported they are at least a little stressed at work, and nearly half said they need help in learning how to manage stress.
Consider the following tips to keep your stress at bay.
Develop a Wellness and Fitness Program or add Stress Management to Your Offerings
If your company doesn't offer a worksite wellness program, get busy creating one! Worksite wellness programs offer great resources for employees to better their health, including stress management. A healthy and stress-free employee equals more productivity for the company, so it's a win for both! (See the Wellness Council of America's site for tips.)
Encourage Employees To Use Deep Breathing Techniques
Deep breathing counteracts the increased heart rate and blood pressure that happen when the body is under stress. It is one of the best ways to stay calm when the body wants to do the opposite, and it can be done anywhere. When you breathe deeply, you are sending a message to your brain and body to relax. Next time your employees feel stressed on the job, have them try these steps:
- Sit up straight and exhale completely through your mouth.
- Place your hands on your stomach and slowly inhale through your mouth, pushing your hands out with your stomach.
- Hold the inhale for two to five seconds and slowly exhale.
- Repeat until you feel relaxed.
Encourage Exercise As A Lifestyle, Including at Work!
We've all heard about how exercise can help you maintain heart health and manage a healthy weight, but exercise can also be a great form of stress relief. Physical activity not only boosts the release of those feel-good endorphins (and in turn boosting your mood); it can also improve sleep that can so often be disrupted by stress.
If you or your employees aren't currently exercising, start slow. Choose an activity that you enjoy and maybe even consider including your friends. Making it a social activity can give you a stress-relieving social network and make you more likely to stick with the program.
The Results Are Worth the Effort
Learning to manage stress in healthy ways will keep your employees producing the work your want to see as well as keep them sane during the process. You are only as good as your body allows, and it needs to be healthy in order to perform at the top. Make every day a new day by dealing with the stresses of yesterday and breathing through the thoughts of tomorrow.