Today's workplace is a breeding ground for stress: pressure to get more done with less; layoffs; overtime and inflexible schedules; irritable co-workers and bosses; sedentary lifestyle that leads to bad habits of overeating junk food and spending too much time in a stupor before the TV; uncertainty about the future.
While there is no such thing as a job without stress, you can take 11 steps to reduce the life threatening damage it causes.
1. Improve you dietary habits. Cut down on the junk food. Stop eating at your desk. Reduce your intake of alcohol.
2. Clean up and organize your work area. If possible add plants to your environment. Set up an efficient filing system. Don't clutter your desk top with outdated or useless paper and knick-knacks. Photos of family, pets and happy time are the exception.
3. Consider your work posture. Sitting up straight is not good. It's best to lean your chair back at a 135-degree angle. Change positions frequently.
4. Reduce the pressure to do more with less. Review your work habits. Are you wasting time? Understand what is expected of you and plan your efforts and resources to meet those expectations. Don't be reluctant to ask for help when you need it. When you are overloaded or short on resources, don't hesitate to discuss your work with your boss.
5. You may not have much control over the matter, but do try to hold your overtime hours to a reasonable level.
6. Request flexible hours. Several studies have shown that having control of one's own work hours yields health benefits in terms of blood pressure and sleep.
7. Exercise. Avoid too much sitting. Get away from your desk at least once an hour for a few minutes. Walk around. Stretch. Exercise during your lunch break. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. Of course, a regular workout regime of even a few minutes each day is most desirable.
8. Get plenty of rest and sleep. Vegging in a daze in front of the TV is not the same as going to bed at a decent hour, and getting a restful night's sleep.
9. Get to know your boss. Understanding him or her and the pressures that their positions impose will improve the relationship and improve the atmosphere in which your work.
10. Develop a rapport with your co-workers. Lend a hand when they need help. Turn to them when you are in a jam. Meet after work, off site, for a beer now and then.
11. Get a life beyond your job: a hobby, a public service project, reading, acquire knowledge and skills in a different job or career path.
For more advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times participate in Ramon Greenwood's widely read Common Sense At Work Blog click http://www.commonsenseatwork.com. He coaches from a successful career as Senior VP at American Express, author of career-related books, successful entrepreneur, and a senior executive/consultant in Fortune 500 companies. For more free career coaching visit http://commonsenseatwork.com/job-advice-principles.
© 2010 Ramon Greenwood
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