According to the American Medical Association, stress is the cause of more than 60 percent of basic human illness and disease.
We know – WOW.
It seems unfathomable at first, but when you think about it, stress plays a starring role in unhealthy eating, substance abuse, insomnia and lack of physical activity. And research shows that high stress leads to depression, fatigue, hypertension and high blood pressure.
It takes its toll in the office too; a study by Harris Interactive found that 83 percent of Americans are stressed out at work – up from 73 percent in 2012. This workplace stress can have serious effects:
- Medical expenses are 46 percent higher for employees who say they’re under uncontrolled stress.
- Stress has caused 52 percent of Americans to quit a job, look for a new job or turn down a promotion.
Now for the good news. There are ways to prevent AND reduce stress. Since April is Stress Awareness Month, we’re sharing our favorite tips.
1. Schedule short walking breaks. There’s nothing like fresh air and daylight to reduce stress, clear the mind and help you recharge. If you can, take walking meetings with colleagues too – talk about smart multi-tasking!
2. Make time for a weekly lunch with friends. Taking time to laugh and have fun can reduce stress and help you feel more at ease.
3. Keep moving. Thirty minutes of daily heart-pumping exercise can increase energy and help you relax.
4. Snack smart. Avoid irritability from a blood sugar crash by reaching for healthy snacks like fresh fruit, chopped veggies or yogurt.
5. Clear the clutter. Research has found that even looking at clutter can increase stress. Take a moment to tidy up your desk and get organized for the day.
6. Make time to sleep. Getting a good night’s rest is essential for staying productive during the day. Aim for seven to nine hours of shut-eye a night.
7. Re-prioritize. Feel like your to-do list is unmanageable? Revisit your list and make a new, manageable list of priorities just for the day.
8. Schedule uninterrupted work time. Texts, emails and office visits can all increase stress. Schedule time for uninterrupted work time and turn off as many distractions as possible.