Hi everyone,

Here is another example of how you can use timely topics to provide information to your clients and the community at large. Think of pitching this type of content to your local media, use on your website or put an article in your waiting room.

            Don’t Let Workplace Stress Ruin Your Labor Day Holiday

Where did the summer go? I can’t believe kids are starting back to school and Labor Day is just around the corner. In today’s busy world Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to switch off from the demands of the workplace and find time to manage their stress. This year, many Americans will spend Labor Day either working or worrying about work.

Sixty percent of adults report work as a very or somewhat significant source of stress, according to the American Psychological Association’s recent Stress in AmericaTM survey. The survey also found that one in five Americans say they never engage in an activity to help relieve or manage stress. That is incredible.This Labor Day is the perfect time for employees to start thinking about how they can better manage stress. It is also a great time for employers to think about how they can encourage employees to utilize relaxation techniques.

Here are a few tips to help you relax:

Know yourself. Be aware of your stress level and know what stresses you out. People experience stress in different ways. You may have a hard time concentrating or making decisions, or you may feel angry, irritable or out of control. Learn your own stress signals.

Turn off and tune in. Communication technology can take you to productivity heights never imagined, but it can also allow work to creep into family time, dinner and vacations. Set rules for yourself, such as turning off your cell phone when you get home or establishing certain times when you return calls. Be sure to communicate those rules to others, so you can manage their expectations.

Take short breaks. Stay energized and productive by taking a minute or two periodically throughout the day to stand up, stretch, breathe deeply and shake off the accumulating tension. Short breaks between tasks can be particularly effective, helping you feel like you’ve wrapped up one thing before moving on to the next. Take a 10-15 minute break every few hours to recharge and avoid the temptation to work through lunch.  The productivity you gain will more than make up for the time you spend on break.

Find healthy ways to manage stress. Make an effort to replace unhealthy coping strategies, such as eating junk food, smoking or drinking alcohol with healthy behaviors, like exercise, meditation or talking with friends and family. Keep in mind that unhealthy behaviors develop over time and can be difficult to change. Take it slow and focus on changing one behavior at a time.  Some behaviors are very difficult to change and may require the help of a licensed professional such as a psychologist.

Ask for professional support. Accepting help from supportive friends and family can improve your ability to manage stress. Your employer may also have stress management resources available through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), including online information, available counseling and referral to mental health professionals, if needed. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by work stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist, who can help you better manage stress and change unhealthy behaviors.

To learn more about stress and mind/body health, visit the American Psychological Association at www.apa.org/helpcenter.

Written by Elaine Ducharme, Ph.D., ABPP