Perform risk assessments.

Sincerely Stefanie: Managing Stress

Aug. 9, 2017
Coping with stress at a personal and company level can be, for lack of a better word, stressful.

Jobs. Bills. Relationships. Stressors appear everywhere, and juggling day-to-day activities can become overwhelming for some.

In order to call attention to the most stress-affected cities, researchers at WalletHub recently compared 150 of the most populated cities across 30 metrics including unemployment rate, divorce rate and suicide.

Researchers found common ground between populations regarding what individual things cause stress, such as family stress, job-related stress, financial stress and health and safety stress. For example, Detroit, Mich. ranked No. 1 for highest poverty rate, lowest credit score and lowest average weekly work hours. Cleveland, Ohio placed No. 1 for highest divorce rate and just behind Detroit for poverty rate.

These studies or lists are a great resource to see how populations across the country differ, but it all comes down to the well-being of Americans and our inability to cope with stress, as well as the lack of resources to be able to manage it. In fact, Gallup’s global index of personal well-being shows a continued downward trend in the United States when it comes to the population’s ability to thrive.

The American Psychological Association (APA) lists a number  of factors tend to go hand-in-hand with work-related stress, among them: low salaries, excessive workloads, few opportunities for growth or advancement, work that isn’t engaging or challenging, lack of social support, not having enough control over job-related decisions and conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations.

Work-related stress in particular can be managed in a number of ways, whether it’s company management making a conscious decision to improve the company’s culture or a worker’s own prerogative to take steps to reduce stress. Whatever it is, stress management might mean lifestyle changes, new routines or something as simple as taking a mental health day to regroup.

On a personal level, the APA says a person can use the following techniques to manage stress:

Track your stressors. Keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them.

Develop healthy responses. Instead of attempting to fight stress with fast food or alcohol, do your best to make healthy choices when you feel the tension rise. Exercise is a great stress-buster.

Establish boundaries. In today’s digital world, it’s easy to feel pressure to be available 24 hours a day. Establish some work-life boundaries for yourself. That might mean making a rule not to check email from home in the evening, or not answering the phone during dinner.

Take time to recharge. To avoid the negative effects of chronic stress and burnout, we need time to replenish and return to our pre-stress level of functioning. This recovery process requires “switching off” from work by having periods of time when you are neither engaging in work-related activities, nor thinking about work.

Learn how to relax. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises and mindfulness (a state in which you actively observe present experiences and thoughts without judging them) can help melt away stress.

Talk to your supervisor. Healthy employees typically are more productive, so your boss has an incentive to create a work environment that promotes employee well-being. Start by having an open conversation with your supervisor. The purpose of this isn’t to lay out a list of complaints, but rather to come up with an effective plan for managing the stressors you’ve identified, so you can perform at your best on the job.

Get some support. Accepting help from trusted friends and family members can improve your ability to manage stress. Your employer also may have stress management resources available through an employee assistance program (EAP), including online information, available counseling and referral to mental health professionals, if needed.

For me, managing stress means taking walk breaks during the work day, running or physical activity after work, communicating any issues I might have and making sure I find time to sit down and prioritize what I need to do. For others, it might not be as easy as that sounds.

For an EHS manager at a company level, if it’s not being done already, it might be time to take the personal well-being of employees and make efforts to reduce stress levels. If an employee is stressed, it could lead to a drop in productivity, shortcuts that contribute to injuries and high turnover. Sometimes, finding the root cause might mean getting down to the psychological level and personal well-being of workers to know how they tick and cope with things in order to improve overall company morale and performance. It could, in turn, make it less stressful for everyone in the long run.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!