The World Health Organization defines stress as a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. It's a nearly universal human experience. According to Gallup's 2022 Global Emotions Report, the world is more stressed out than ever. The American Institute of Stress says that more than 60% of Americans are concerned about the current amount of uncertainty in the country and find it overwhelming to them.
We already covered how you can manage stress at work, especially considering that most of our team members work in fast-paced warehousing and manufacturing facilities. But what if you're feeling a different level of stress that is not only affecting your working hours but your overall life?
Some of the most frequently cited sources of stress include:
- Personal relationships (family, friends, partner, etc)
- Health issues
- Housing costs
- Job stability
- Personal safety
To recognize if you're being impacted by stress, pay close attention and see if you feel any of these most mentioned symptoms:
- Irritability and anger (45%)
- Fatigue or low energy (41%)
- Lack of motivation or interest in things (38%)
- Anxiety, nervousness or worry (36%)
- Headaches (36%)
- Feeling sad or depressed (34%)
- Digestive issues (26%)
- Muscle tension (23%)
- Appetite changes (21%)
And how can you cope, manage or reduce the impact these life's stressors have on you?
While stress is unavoidable for the vast majority of people, there are ways to help prevent and deal with it.
Reframe your thinking
Our thoughts influence our emotions, which in turn influence our behaviors. We know it's easier said than done but try to not to think about worst case scenarios, accept that some situations are outside your control and set realistic expectations for yourself.
Try the "Big 3"
We're talking about eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep. Do your best to eat fresh, whole foods packed with nutrients that will support your body and mind to overcome stress: eggs, fish like salmon and tuna, nuts, fruits like banana, blueberries and avocado, vegetables such as broccoli and dark green leaves. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and high-sugar foods. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity (walking, jogging and swimming), five days a week. And last but not least, turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes prior to going to bed and try to sleep always around the same time.
Hobbies are important
Life can get overwhelming but don't cut yourself off from pleasure. Turn to your hobbies to destress, they can help you breathe, relax and reduce your anxiety. Doing things you enjoy is a natural way to relieve stress and find your happy place.
Some friends or family members may be good at listening and sympathizing and others might be great at practical help, like helping you cook or looking after your kids for some time. Map out your social network and reach out to your loved ones that you feel that can support you.
If you suspect you have a stress-related disorder, schedule an evaluation with a medical professional immediately. The Mental Health First Aid website has a comprehensive list of resources for all types of stress issues.
Most importantly, do your best not to make the situation even more difficult. Avoid people and situations that you know will stress you more, don't overload your to-do list for the sake of keeping your mind busy and don't lose hope. You can do this, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you may start to feel better once you disrupt the cycle of stress.