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Easy ways to beat job stress while creating a healthy workplace

Workplace stress can tear us apart. It plays havoc on our physical and emotional well-being – and ultimately sabotages our performance.


mark borkowski webIf you feel like you are precariously juggling both work and personal/family life responsibilities, you are not alone. According to a 2010 Statistics Canada Sources of stress among workers study, “about 62% of those highly stressed workers identified work as the main source of their stress.

These individuals were generally well educated – almost three-quarters had a college or university education – and were employed in white-collar occupations.”

I recently contacted Stress Consultant and Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Rosalie Moscoe to seek advice on how we can integrate ways to tame stress.

“Work consumes so much of our life,” says Moscoe, “The phrase ‘work/life balance’ is a bit of a misnomer. It poses a contradiction as it implies that work and life are two separate worlds. 

“In actuality, we live in several worlds: emotional, physical, vocational, financial, relationships/social and spiritual. Stress can come from any of these aspects of our life. Be aware when one aspect infringes upon another – i.e. longer work hours, health issues, home responsibilities or relationship problems.”

Moscoe suggests the following tips to keep stress at bay: 

• Commit to unplugging from your digital life each day — at home and at work (hint: turn off your phone). Use this break to focus on quality time with family and friends or just enjoy time to yourself without distractions.

• Examine your workplace infrastructure to determine where you can recruit additional support. Learn the art of delegating.

• Limit multi-tasking, which diminishes mental productivity, elevates brain fatigue and increases stress.

• Take back your lunch. Do you regularly work through lunch and/or eat at your desk? Take a mid-day break, accompanied by healthy food choices. When ever possible join a group of colleagues or friends for lunch. Socializing is a natural remedy to stress.

• If your work situation allows and you don’t find it too distracting, work from home a few days a week. Relieve yourself of the stress of the daily commute and use this time to concentrate on completing projects.

• Look to ancient wisdom – learn to meditate and quiet the mind of constant chatter/dialogue. Start by taking a few deep, full breathes each day – exhale through the nose.

• Exercise. It’s a life-long commitment to keep our bodies fit.

• Limit alcohol and junk food 

As a motivational speaker and workplace wellness and health promotion expert for the past fifteen years, Moscoe advocates that there are many wellness strategies executives and management can initiate to help employees (and themselves) to balance their personal and professional lives.

While larger organizations often have the resources to develop policies that serve to enhance employee well-being, even smaller organizations can positively influence the health of employees. “A healthy workplace is as healthy as its people,” says Moscoe, “executives, management and employees are responsible for creating the atmosphere. Each person, regardless of his or her status in the workplace, needs to attend to personal health practices such as exercising, eating well, refraining from smoking, getting adequate sleep and limiting alcohol consumption.” 

“In times of downsizing and fragile economies, it is very important to help remaining staff deal with stress and the extra work they often face. Many feel they must not complain even if they feel overworked, undervalued or underpaid,” reports Moscoe. 

So, what can employers do? 

• Lead by example. Executives set a tone and pace that trickles down. Be aware of your impact. A healthy work climate creates a sense of vitality and psychological presence among associates.

• Show employees appreciation and establish rewards for a job well done.

• Match the right employee to the right job and distribute workloads as evenly as possible. 

• Carefully listen to employees’ issues or concerns (in person, not always through e-mails).

“It is imperative for executives and management personnel to monitor their own stress levels and become aware of them in their people,” reiterates Moscoe. “Encourage employees to take adequate breaks, maintain healthy habits and take care of themselves.”

Tough times need not break apart organizations. Instead, they can be a time of coming together, listening, talking and brainstorming for solutions. With a positive attitude, you can help create a stress-free, healthy workplace, for your employees and yourself. 

Mark Borkowski is president of Mercantile Mergers & Acquisitions Corporation. Visit: www.mercantilemergersacquisitions.com 

Rosalie Moscoe, Registered Nutritional Consultant Practitioner (RNCP) and speaker on stress-relief and well-being, is the author of Frazzled Hurried Woman! Your Stress Relief Guide to Thriving. . .Not Merely Surviving. She gives people the keys to achieve energetic, healthy lives. Visit www.healthinharmony.com