Business man with jacket slung over his shoulder takes a walk in a park.Stress is just a fact of life with most jobs. In this fast-paced world, workplaces are often asking employees to take on multiple roles and responsibilities. The recent job market has amplified these effects, with low salaries, uncertain futures, and increased workloads.

Stress can damage not only your health but also your career prospects. You can't perform at your best when you’re overwhelmed with stress or even missing work because of increased illnesses.

The American Psychological Association offers seven tips for managing your stress at work:*

  1. Track your stressors: Write down what causes you stress at work and how you respond. Look for patterns of what raises your stress level and the best ways to bring it back under control.
  2. Develop healthy responses: Sleep, exercise, and relaxing activities will help more in the long run than junk food, alcohol, or just bottling it up.
  3. Establish boundaries: Sometimes you have to turn off the cell phone and walk away from the e-mail. You can't be available 24 hours a day.
  4. Take time to recharge: Take your vacation if you can, because your body needs time to replenish and return to pre-stress levels. If you can't take vacation, find some time to relax, unwind, or focus on a non-work activity.
  5. Learn how to relax: It's not enough to just not be at work. Learn how to focus on some activity and be fully in that moment.
  6. Talk to your supervisor: It is in the company's best interest to have you operating at full capacity, rather than being too stressed out to fully focus. Work out a plan to manage your stress level while still performing your job functions. This can include improving your time-management skills or tapping into company wellness benefits.
  7. Get some support: You're not in this alone. Friends, family, and even counseling professionals can help you manage your stress before it overwhelms you.

*American Psychological Association, "Coping With Stress at Work", on the internet at www.apa.org/helpcenter/work-stress.aspx.

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