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It's official: we're stressed

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It's official: we're stressed

More than a quarter of Canadian workers reported being highly stressed at work in a recently published Stats Can survey. Some useful tips to manage stress.

In 2010, slightly more than one in four Canadian workers described their day-to-day lives as highly stressful, according to Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey (GSS). Roughly 3.7 million people described their lives on most days to be “quite a bit” or “extremely” stressful, meaning that they went through a regular day feeling a high level of stress in the workplace.

These statistics mirror the numbers reported in the 2005 GSS, indicating that not much has changed at work to address the high prevalence of stressed workers. Not only does this have health implications for those workers, but it also means lost productivity through absenteeism, reduced work output, and increased disability claims.

Here are some simple ways to keep calm at work

  • Herbal extracts including skullcap (Skutellaria), hops (Humulus lupulus), and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) relieve stress and can improve sleep.
  • A healthy lifestyle including regular exercise will boost your resilience to stress.
  • L-theanine, an amino acid derived from green tea (Camellia sinensis) helps relaxation while enhancing your focus and attention to tasks.
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction is an effective technique involving physical relaxation, sitting meditation, hatha yoga, and nonjudgmental awareness of internal and external experiences.

We also know that workers who aren’t stressed by their work may also be affected by stress brought into the work environment by their co-workers. This phenomenon, called second-hand stress, can be as contagious as a cold or flu virus. Unfortunately there is no quick cure for second-hand stress.

Here are some tips to help avoid second-hand stress

  • Recognize signs of stress in others and learn to regulate your response by practising stress management techniques.
  • Offer support to friends, family, and workmates; the better they can cope, the less chance there is of sharing in their stress.
  • Tell the other person how their mood is affecting you, and be willing to help as long as it doesn’t increase your stress further.
  • Reserve time for yourself; have a break and do something you enjoy to relieve tension.
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