Every week, Americans spend a significant
amount of time at work, where they often find themselves facing deadlines and
added pressures, which can be stressful on both body and mind. Sometimes, a
little stress can be a positive force, helping you to perform under pressure
and motivating you to do your best. But far too often, this leads to feeling
frazzled and overwhelmed.
Stress is the body’s way of responding to any
kind of demand or threat. When danger is sensed, the body produces the “fight
or flight” response, which floods the body with hormones and fuels the reaction
to life-threatening situations. Unfortunately, the body can also react to
stressors that are not life-threatening, such as a looming deadline or job
performance strain, which can result in a constant state of hormone-fueled
stress. The American
Psychological Association (APA) cites that
over time, repeated activation of the stress response in these situations takes
a physical and mental toll on the body. The longer the stress lasts, the bigger
the impact on mind and body.
The APA specifically notes that job-related
stress coupled with its emotional toll can drastically affect physical and
mental health due to constant preoccupation with job responsibilities and
uncontrolled stressors. Research suggests stress
contributes to high blood pressure, promotes artery-clogging deposits and can
lead to brain changes that cause fatigue, lack of concentration and
irritability. Chronic stress can also lead to several diseases brought on by
unhealthy habits people use to cope with stress such as smoking or over eating.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island
(BCBSRI) suggests a combination of relaxation techniques, nutrition, exercise
and time management techniques as ways to achieve workplace wellness.
Identify the stressor: Monitor your state of mind throughout the workday. If you feel
stressed about a job assignment or other tasks, write down your thoughts and
mood, and develop a plan for addressing them.
Connect with others: The simple act of talking face-to-face can trigger hormones
that relieve stress when you’re feeling agitated. Take your gaze away from your
computer and chat with your work neighbor.
Rest your body: Stress is a common culprit for keeping adults lying awake at
night. To ensure a good night of sleep, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and
reduce screen time on computers and phones when the work day is over, and
especially close to bedtime.
Rest your mind: Use stress relief techniques such as meditation. BCBSRI offers
a wellness app, powered by Virgin Pulse, that allows members to participate in
mindfulness exercises or practice Yoga.
Make the most of breaks: It’s likely that your employer offers a 30- or 60-minute break
each workday. Take advantage of that time! Take a brief walk, grab lunch with a
co-worker, or simply sit and enjoy something non-job related like reading.
Set reasonable standards: Don’t expect perfection. List all of your responsibilities and
job assignments, assess your priorities and then eliminate any tasks that are
Managing stress while on the job is just as
important as any other responsibility. Without proper coping mechanisms and
attention to mental and physical health, excessive stress can interfere with
daily productivity and performance.
BCBSRI is dedicated to supporting you as an
active participant in your wellness goals through free fitness classes and
resources at Your Blue Store, wellness incentives and tools to help members
take charge of their health. For more information, visit bcbsri.com/employee/member/wellness. During the annual Open Enrollment period through December 31,
BCBSRI makes it easy to find the plan that best fits your health needs with
personalized plan recommendations offered at Your Blue Store locations in East
Providence, Lincoln and Warwick. You can also learn about options online by
visiting bcbsri.com/individual/shop. Learn more about the advantages of your BCBSRI plan at rhodeahead.com/advantages and talk with us about your individual needs at (401) 469-5000.