IS WORKPLACE STRESS PUTTING YOUR HEALTH AND HAPPINESS AT RISK?

When you think about it, stress is a constant component to everyday life and rears it’s ugly head head when you’re anxious that you can’t cope with the expectations placed upon you. And while scientists advise a controlled level of pressure is beneficial to performance and quality of life (in other words, without deadlines and deliverables, we’d never get anything done), some warn that in an workplace setting, the consequences of stress are dire.

“Stress management is the most important subject of contemporary competitive world wherein every individual, irrespective of gender, race, religion, caste, class, etc. is undergoing stress and strain due to a multiplicity of factors-specially ever growing cut throat competition in today’s achieving society in which every sky is not the limit of success,” Soni Kushwaha, an India-based researcher, writes in “Stress Management in the Workplace,” a study published this year in the Global Journal of Finance and Management.

She goes on to cite declines in work performance, regressive (moodiness, overreaction to problems) or aggressive (excessive gossip, bullying or criticism) behavior, and withdrawal (arriving late, leaving early, extended lunches) as tell-tale signs that stress may be keeping you from putting your best Jimmy Choo-adorned feet forward.

And if your office efficiency isn’t as high as you remembered it to be, the first step is to identify the catalyst by looking at your actions day-in and -out. Sure it’s summer, but that shouldn’t mean that your days are lazy. Take this quick four-question quiz to determine if you’re burnt out and need a break or if you’ll be fine with a simple weekend.

1) You just walked into the office. What’s the first thing you do?

A) Check your emails, make a quick to-do list and refill your coffee mug.
B) Get on Facebook
C) Gossip with your coworkers by the water cooler.

2) How are those deadlines looking?

A) Taken care of, always on time or a little early
B) As long as I get it done my boss usually doesn’t say anything
C) Usually I’m fine, but lately I’ve been having to work doubly hard in the hour leading up to the deadline

3) How do you feel about your boss as of late?
A) Same as usual! I trust them as my mentor, go-to person and office friend.
B) Wait, where are they? I’ve been avoiding them until I get this assignment done.
C) They’re the boss. I go to them for work, they come to me for help getting things done. Everything’s fine.

4) What’s the last thing you think about before you fall asleep?
A) That Standout pair of shoes you saw on Barney’s website
B) How much work you have to do the next day
C) How much you miss your close-knit group of friends, and how much you would love to hang out with them ASAP

IF YOU SELECTED…

Mostly As Congratulations! You’ve mastered the art of staying productive, even when a trip to the beach, a day of sleeping in or anything else seems super tempting. Even you need a break though, so don’t be afraid to admit that. Chances are you take lunch breaks, participate in your hobbies after work, and make sure to schedule in time with family and close friends. These small gestures add up to keeping you in line and keeping your head in the game.

Mostly Bs You need a break, and not just the typical weekend recharge. You need time away from the mental strain and constant worrying that you’re dealing with at your job. Whether it’s time-management issues or extreme exhaustion, your issues need to be addressed and handled first taking a physical and mental break from the office and tackling them head-on once you’re revitalized. If you can’t afford a vacation or don’t have time off from work, check out our money and time-saving tips below to ensure that you can still make a full productivity recovery.

Mostly Cs You could use a break, but not the extended kind. is it Thursday? Have you had a super jam-packed week? You’re ready to recharge with friends, family and relaxation this weekend, but your stress level isn’t bad enough to keep you from being productive. You may spend a little extra time at the water cooler or check your facebook toward the end of the day, but you get your work done, and your focus isn’t overly cloudy. Practicing any of the easy relaxation tips below will definitely help you out, but chances are you’ve already figured out your weekend recharging formula.

HOLIDAY FROM HOME Five tips on how to get that vacation feel while on a budget, short on vacation days or in between weekends

Meditate No, it’s not just for your yoga teacher and that’s super zen friend you had from college. Meditation is a serious way to feel better almost instantly. Once you get past the mental aspect of shutting your mind off, meditation can take you from an overworked mess to a carefree spirit. It’s important to leave yourself personal time throughout each day for reflection.

Take an actual lunch break for a change If you can’t afford to eat out, no worries. Take your packed lunch to eat outside, in the breakroom or really anywhere other than your desk. Dedicate lunch to anything but work. It can be tempting to snack as you work, but that’s not a good idea for your health (you’re more likely to overeat) or your mental state (yes, getting work off of your mind is actually a productive way to get more work done). Even if you usually work through lunch to take off early, try not to maintain that habit. It’s better to take a midday break to revive your spirit than to work straight through and let your work slowly get worse in quality as the day goes on.

Go on a discovery this weekend You might be stuck in your town this weekend, but that shouldn’t stop you from sight-seeing. Is there a new restaurant in town that you have yet to try? A park you haven’t been to since you were a kid? Pack a picnic, walk on a new path — anything to change up your routine. If you don’t want to fill up your tank or bother with crowds, you can even stumble upon something new in your own home. Have you tried working in that armchair in your living room? What about reading in your backyard? Use and discover your new favorite spot somewhere that you see everyday but never think twice about.

Do an at-home spa day A manicure, pedicure and facial can be so very pricey. If you’re trying to save money but cater to your luxurious side, have an at-home spa day this weekend. Stack up those magazines you haven’t gotten around to reading, soak your toes in hot water and essential oils, slap a homemade mask on your face and get out the hand cream. Taking care of yourself and feeling good about your personal state will help your mental state get to a healthier place.

Grab brunch with your faves It seems simple enough, but time with those close to you is incredibly relaxing. Opt for that new sundress that you didn’t feel was quite office-appropriate, sandals, big sunglasses and mimosas with people who will provide you with laughter and stimulating conversations about anything other than work. Get lost in delicious breakfast and stay for hours discussing anything under the sun. Just make sure to tip!


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About Christine Elizabeth Cauthen

My name is Christine, and I love all things music, writing and fashion. I'm a graduate of the University of Missouri with a major in magazine editing and a minor in Sociology. I love to read, watch documentaries about the ocean and have stimulating conversations with friends. Say hello.