The short answer is Yes! Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that stress does in fact contribute to mental illnesses and workplace stress is no different. 

Everyone loves a good challenge and work can  be a very positive experience; the development of social networks and a sense of accomplishment and purpose. In addition to a salary, employment is a key part of many people’s balanced and healthy lives. However, the workplace also presents a host of challenges! For one, the intermingling of different personality types, the workload can be too much, or not challenging enough, client expectations, the routine drudgery and the micromanagement,  it can sometimes feel like a miracle the way we’re able to cope! 

Mental illnesses are health problems that affect the way we think about ourselves, relate to others, and interact with the world around us. They affect our thoughts, feelings, abilities and behaviours. Depression and anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses. Mental illnesses are more likely to come up during times of stress or uncertainty, which can be part of many people’s jobs. Life stress outside of work can also affect mental health which may then affect a person at work.

 

How to find the balance? 

In more severe long term cases, it is highly advised to have a much deeper conversation with ones manager to determine a healthy balance moving forward, however, sometimes this isn’t a reality. Luckily, there are steps that we can take to limit how stress affects us. In this post, I will share two lifestyle adjustments one can make to cope with workplace stress. 

Get enough sleep

Not only can stress and worry cause a lack of sleep but, it can also leave you vulnerable to even more stress. When you are well-rested, it is much easier to keep an emotional balance, which is key to dealing with job and workplace related stress. Tips to get better sleep can be a blog post on its own, however,  as a holistic nutritionist, trouble sleeping is the cause of an overactive liver. To lighten your load, avoid alcohol and caffeine, as well as sweet pungent, or spicy foods, which are considered heating foods. 

To work better with your body and its ability to get a good nights sleep, one should stick to cooling foods – these are easy to recognize as they tend to be green to pale coloured with a high moisture content. These include cucumbers, bananas, watermelon, green beans and tofu. 

start your day off right – prioritize and organize

Leave early in the morning. 5-10 minutes can make the difference between frantically hurrying to your desk and having time to slowly ease into your day. Running late will only increase your  stress levels. Break projects and tasks into small steps. If a project seems to be overwhelming, make a step-by-step plan. Focus on one small task at a time, rather than taking on everything at once! This is much easier said than done but simply taking the time to create a checklist, can prevent a mental breakdown. If you start off the day with good nutrition, proper planning, and a positive attitude, you may find the stress of the workplace rolling off your back more easily.

the bottom line

We can’t expect work to be totally stress-free! However, we can work to neutralize day-to-day stress by taking care of ourselves and filling the rest of our time with meaningful things. Creating space for healthy habits, quality relationships, purpose-driven activities, and even just quiet time for contemplation can make a world of difference. We all deserve to live happy, healthy lives and it’s never too late to start making simple changes that will allow you to swap some of that stress for a nice dose of inner peace.