Prevention of Stress
To help reduce stress and improve the quality of life, many organizations are becoming more involved in wellness programs. With increasing health care costs, many employers are concentrating on disease prevention and health promotion. By putting a wellness program in place, it leads to a healthier workforce which increases its productivity level, reduces employee absenteeism, creates less overtime, and it also cuts the cost of health benefits (Kizer, 1987).
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Another reason that many companies are developing a wellness program within the organization is the effect it has on the bottom line.
By preventing stress, an organization has happy healthy employees which means t quality and quantity of work will be improved. For example ” A middle manager may be a company’s shining star, but if he is living in constant disharmony at home, or if his teenage daughter, whom he suspects is using street drugs, did not come home until 3 a. m. last Saturday night this promising manager is not going to be particularly efficient at even routine daily tasks. A worksite wellness program could help” (Kizer, 1987, p. 36). Another contributing factor to higher job related stress is less leisure and vacation time.
Throughout the 1980s, the amount of paid time off for employees is act” shrinking. Many European workers are gaining vacation time, while Americans are losing it. ” In the last decade, U. S. workers have gotten less paid time off – on the order of three and a half fewer days each year of vacation time, holidays, sick pay, and other paid absences. ” (Schor, 1991 p. 32). Many companies faced an economic squeeze in the 1980″s. Vacations and holidays were among the cost-cutting efforts. DuPont reduced its top vacation allotment time from seven four weeks.
They also eliminated three of their paid holidays a year. With the new trend of downsizing, many employees are fearful of job loss and therefore, spend less time away from the workplace (Schor, 1991, p. 32). Individuals who experience high or frequent levels of stress need to learn to cope. High levels of stress can effect job performance and it can also be unhealthy. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, people need to attempt to take responsibility for stress. Those individuals need to learn more about stress in general and how it effects them.
They also need to develop technique. for monitoring personal levels of stress and develop techniques to deal with job related stress. Employees should look within the organization on ways to alleviate stress and how to cope more effectively. Organizations an often unnecessarily stressful and should be changed to reduce the negative impact on individuals’ physical and mental health (Paine, 1982, p. 21). Three major strategies for strengthening individuals are workshops, stress management skills, and focused short term counseling. Introductory workshops are essential to communicate and educate to be more mentally and physically healthy.
Such workshops which specialize in topics as time management or relaxation techniques help to alleviate the stress in one’s life (Paine, 1982, p. 22). Finding techniques that deal with personal stress can also be useful in dealing with job stress. Regular aerobic exercise to deep breathing techniques are potentially useful in stress management. Many specialist agree that there is not any one method to overcome the problem. One needs to realize their own self needs and strengths in dealing with stress management (Paine, 1982, p. 23). There are many different ways in which you can deal with job stress.
Individuals can take on simple self-help countermeasures. There is also help from friends, colleagues, spouse, or other relatives. Professional help is available from clergymen, physicians, or counselors. The worksite offers several advantages for employees interested in making healthy lifestyle changes. The advantages include: Most employees go to a worksite on a regular schedule, thus providing opportunities for regular participation in wellness programs. Contact with co-workers can provide strong social support which is believed to be a primary force in sustaining lifestyle changes.
Opportunities for strong, steady support of the program, as well as for promoting the concept that good health is good for everyone. Programs at the worksite may be less expensive to the employee than comparable programs in the community or may even be offered free as an employee benefit. Because of the varity of data systems available, it is possible to evaluate changes in an employee’s health status or other measures resulting from the program. The most attractive feature from an employee”s viewpoint is the fact that the program is convenient.
From the employers viewpoint the benefits of worksite health promotion for stress include: Improved employee relations Improved retention Improved community relations. Reduced absenteeism Reduced number of hours lost to late arrivals and sick davs. Since there’s no getting around life”s problems, the best way to manage stress is to learn better coping skills. First pinpoint the reasons for stress in your life. Then try changing your attitude about them. Learn what you can control and accept the things you cannot. Practice self talk (this to shall pass, Some day we will laugh about this, or Its a learning experience).
Keep your perspective. Ask yourself, “Will I remember this in five years? ” Try to find the positive side to a stressful situation. Do not worry about things that may never happen. Practice positive self-talk, for example,”I can do this,”or “I’m in control. “Negative self-talk such as, “I have to be perfect,” or “I can’t do this,” produces more stress. Take action to manage stress. Changes and stress create energy. Are you using that energy to continue toward your goals? Or are you letting stress make you unhappy and unproductive? Take action to control your stress, both at work and at home.
Manage your time better- make a “to do” list. Make it realistic so you can do the things listed and set priorities. Break task into bite size chunks. Delegate as much as possible. Keep in mind that tomorrow is another day and accept the fact that you may not get everything done today. Make sure you are communicating effectively- Go into stressful meetings as fully prepared as possible. Organize your thoughts, establish eye contact and listen for the whole message, including content feelings, and meanings. Remember that solving problems depends on give and take. Be prepared to negotiate and compromise.
Break the tension cycle-At your desk, close your eyes, breathe deeply and relax. Laugh with co-workers, go out for lunch. At home, read a book, take a walk, chat with next door neighbors. Gets plenty of regular exercise and sleep-they will help you cope better. Get organized at home-Set daily and weekly routines for household chores. Delegate some chores to other family members. Cook meals in large quantities and freeze some for later. Plan for emergencies, keep first aid supplies and an extra set of car keys around. Stress can affect your self-esteem and your health, if you let it.
Be kind to yourself. Relax, keep a positive attitude and get involved in activities you enjoy. Build on your strengths, take care of yourself Also team to reach out to others. Everyone needs a support system, a network of trustworthy people you care about and who care about you. Share your feelings so that they don’t build up. Then focus on building positive energy. Stress is a normal, involuntary response to any demand made upon the body. Stress is very complex. Sources of stress may be made either more positive or more negative by a range of factors related to a given situation.
Stress has become a widely used yet poorly understood term. As a result, a number of misconceptions about stress exist. Three of the most identified misconceptions are that: all stress is dab, stress is a part of life and there is nothing you can do about it, and stress is caused solely and completely by environmental factors. Stress is very much a personal condition, and individuals vary in their ability to cope with different forms and levels of stress. An example of this stress on a personal note would be co-worker conflict. When this stress occurs co-workers should discuss this matter privately.
If possible, arrange your meeting on neutral grounds. Approach the person in a non-threatening manner. Respond to them with: “I would like to talk something over with you. ” Try to make the other person feel less defensive or angry. Do not blame the other person. Listen closely to the other person. Understanding the other point of view may help you feet less stressful. Focus on ways to solve the problem. In this I mean do not revisit every past negative incident, this may distract from the resolution. Finally if none of the above work, seek help.
If necessary talk with an employee assistance counselor who can help develop ground rules for such discussions and promote respectful communications. Stress is a complex process. It can arise in white collar as well as in blue-collar workers. Surveys have found little difference between white and blue-collar workers in terms of complaints, health, life satisfaction, depression, or other indicators of stress. Shift workers are thought to be more susceptible to stress-related illnesses. Because of personal involvement with the disruption in basic steep patterns and disruption in social life.
Since every situation is unique, there are probably as many separate sources of stress as there are work situation. This may is important to recognize when seeking to evaluate working environments for sources of stress. Never the less sources of work related stress can be grouped into four general categories. Work load-which means stress resulting from to much work, to little work, work that is to hard or to easy. Work conditions-refers to a wide variety of factors including organization structure, such as job loss, change in work, and similar factors.
Work patterns- pertains to shift work, repetitive work, and paced work Work roles-, which can be stressful because of role expectations with efficient use of resources and staff. Employers may also wish to introduce an EAP, which provides an effective strategy for assisting employees with personal and work related problems. Where organizations believe it would be necessary to make decisions about the quality of the proposed program. Such decisions should be made on the basis of a well-defined set of criteria. The following set of eight criteria for evaluating and selecting a stress intervention program is suggested.