Although we may not know exactly why, we all know intuitively that working too hard can lead to stress. A variety of factors influence workplace stress, including working too many hours, dealing with an unpleasant boss or coworkers and taking on more tasks and obligations than one person can easily accomplish. Unhappiness at work can snowball into other mental health problems, since it often leads to unhealthy habits (like forgoing home-cooked meals and exercise) in one’s personal life.

Ironically, sometimes we may be working so hard that we don’t have time to even stop and realize that we are suffering from workplace stress. Therefore, it is valuable every once and a while to conduct a self-audit, looking for classic signs and symptoms of job strain. The easiest way to start is to ask yourself how you are feeling on a day-to-day basis. Are you often anxious, irritable or downright depressed? Problems at work can be a number one cause. Furthermore, evaluate your productivity during the workday. Is the quality or the quantity of your output sputtering? Do you find yourself tired and listless while attempting to do basic tasks, perhaps as a result of trouble sleeping at night? Do you suffer from aches and pains in your neck and back areas from being hunched over a laptop for longer than any human being was meant to? Maybe you even find yourself getting seemingly unexplained headaches. These are all indicators of overexertion at the office.

Some causes of workplace stress are impossible to eliminate. For many of us, if our boss asks us to do something, then we have to do it, no questions asked. That said, there are healthy ways to manage stress factors and prevent burnout. To start, prioritize your health and well-being. You will be of little use to your company if you end up sick or in the hospital. To do this, you need to maintain a balance between professional and personal lives, so that you don’t just slouch home every day to eat takeout on the couch in front of the television. Establish a routine that involves eating healthy meals, going to the gym and decluttering your mind, such as by keeping a journal or doing yoga. When you are at work, make sure you take breaks when necessary. At least once an hour, get up from your desk and walk around a bit. Practice mindfulness and listen to relaxing music. If you think you don’t have enough time for such a hiatus, then you need to develop better time management skills: Identify your goals at the start of each day, and put together a plan for the time periods in which you plan to accomplish them. Above all, learn relaxation techniques. These include deep breathing, meditation and the use of an at-home massager, such as those made by NAIPO. You will find that adopting such practices will greatly improve the quality of your life, both at work and outside it.

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