If you often find yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed at work, you are not alone. According to a report published by the CDC, 40% of American workers feel that their job is extremely stressful. Long term stress can be harmful to your health. Stress is a risk factor for both heart disease and stroke, which are two of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States. Recognize your own personal stress signals so that you know when it’s time to take a step back and give yourself a much-needed break.

Stress presents itself in different ways for different people. Some symptoms of stress can include headaches, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, or overall low job satisfaction. If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms, don’t be afraid to take a quick break! Even a 5 – 10 minute break can help you to refocus and reenergize. Use these breaks to focus on yourself, not on your work. When you incorporate several short breaks throughout the day, you’ll find yourself feeling more alert and productive.

Uninterrupted lunch breaks give you time to relax and fuel the rest of your work day. Many of us find ourselves working through our lunch break, whether that means eating at our desks or quickly grabbing food in between shifts. Instead, try eating at a table in the break room or finding a space outside now that the weather is warming up.

Reducing stress can improve your sleep, mood, and overall health. Lower stress levels are also linked to better relationships with friends, family, and significant others. By taking steps to destress during your work day, you can improve your health, job performance, and quality of life. Check out the box below for a few quick and simple stress-reducing activities.

Two-minute stress busters:

  •  Mindfulness meditation. Choose a point of focus. Each time your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your point of focus. YouTube has plenty of short, guided meditations to offer.
  • Chair Stretches. Relieve muscle tension by doing some neck stretches and shoulder rolls right at your desk.
  • Mini dance break. Shake off the stress while listening to your favorite song and trying out some new dance moves in the break room.
  • Deep breathing. Taking just two deep breaths promotes the relaxation response. Take a few minutes to focus on your breathing to help relax your muscles and relieve tension.

Sources: CDC, NIOSH.  The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.