Sometimes it seems as though our culture rewards sooner, better, faster. It’s almost as if society is telling us “if you’re not stressed, you’re not important.” But truthfully, stress limits your effectiveness at work and increases your risk of serious health problems.
Dr. Bruce Wilson is a cardiologist who specializes in the link between stress and cardiovascular disease. “There’s a common misconception that stress can make you more productive, more creative,” he says. “But research has proven that all stress does is create a toxic reaction.”
Signs you might have unhealthy stress habit:
- You constantly try to fit as much as possible into a limited time frame
- You often feel anxious, frustrated or mad
- You have very little free time
- You constantly feel like you’re in reactionary mode
- You get impatient with delays or interruptions
- You seldom ask for help
- You are overly critical of yourself and others
In the long run, a high stress habit doesn’t benefit your employer. It leads to mistakes, poor coworker and client relationships, absenteeism, higher health care costs, turnover, and reduced innovation
Make sure you’re creating work habits that are healthy and sustainable. If you are a supervisor yourself, foster an atmosphere where stress is not a virtue. Encourage employees to seek out balance in their lives. While all teams periodically encounter heavy workloads and tight deadlines, work to create an environment where this isn’t the normal workday.
Here are a few tips to rethink your work practices:
- Take advantage of flexible work and telecommuting options available in your department.
- Create a habit of delegation. Set yourself a goal to hand off a set number of tasks each week.
- Learn positive ways to say no.
- Review your workload regularly. What new ways could you be contributing if you weren’t doing [blank]? Would reassigning or outsourcing that task make more sense for the bigger picture?
- Talk with your manager or a career coach about whether work pressures are really part of the job or your own personal expectations.
Stress is not something to be proud of. Long-term, it can have serious effects on your mental health and behavior. Get proactive about managing it and see if you don’t feel more productive and innovative as a result.
This content can be licensed for your employee newsletter or intranet. Please contact us for information.