Career Corner: Coping with Stress at Work | AIChE

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Career Corner: Coping with Stress at Work

Career Corner

Americans are spending more time working and less time sleeping, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s American Time Use Survey. With longer hours spent at our jobs, many of us are experiencing more workplace stress. We face seemingly endless meetings, tight deadlines, conflicting priorities, and complex organizational structures. In addition, four out of five of us check our email, texts, and social media accounts almost constantly, which heaps on even more stress (1). This chronic stress puts us at risk for health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression. In fact, workplace stress is blamed for 120,000 deaths each year (2).

Stress is the body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. It can come from any event or thought that makes us feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or overwhelmed. To combat stress, many individuals rely on a support network of family and friends. “When I was an oil refinery manager, I was on call 24/7 and lots of scary things could happen,” recalls Steven Cousins, who is retired from Lion Oil Co. (El Dorado, AR). “I shared my fears and anxieties with my wife, who would always talk me off the mental ledge if the stress was getting to me.”

Having a proper diet, practicing yoga or meditation, and getting regular exercise or physical activity are also proven stress-relievers. Your company may offer programs for...

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