I sat swiveling in my chair trying to see how many times I could go around with just a few pushes. This is how I started my work day—drinking coffee and spinning in my chair with thoughts of, “I need a new job! The management here is not good, the stress is intense, and it’s just not a fun place to work.”
I was mid spin when my manager walked in and informed everyone that Bob (I won’t use his real name) wouldn’t be in for a few days—he had suffered a heart attack the night before.
My first thought was that poor guy. Bob was in his late 40s trying to make it, pay the bills, take care of a family…the works. The sad truth is, Bob didn’t thrive in our workplace because it did not have a culture structured for thriving. Management wanted results, and they really didn’t value the people who created the results.
I honestly believe that Bob had a heart attack due to all the stress in his life and the fact that he didn’t like where he worked or the direction the company was going. You can argue the cause, but statistics indicate that more people have heart attacks on Monday than any other day of the week. I think this indicates that people are stressed over their work.
It’s really simple. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Do you work in an organization that values results over the people who produce the results?
2. Is your culture positive? Is there at least an effort to boost morale and positive spirit?
3. When you leave work, does it take you a few hours to unwind?
4. Do you frequently fantasize about doing something else?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be heading in a direction of stress manifesting itself in negative ways like:
1. Not being able to sleep well.
2. Reaching for carbs or sweets.
3. Feeling overly fatigued.
4. Acting grumpy towards others.
5. Becoming over stimulated with coffee or caffeine products.
Stress at work can also manifest itself in other ways that are not healthy. So what can you do?
1. Listen to something positive—audio books on the drive to work and home.
2. Have a quote book by your desk, so if you feel your attitude going south, you can adjust it.
3. Take a 20 minute walk at lunch.
4. Take time to breathe deeply for two minutes throughout the day.
5. Inquire if your company has a personal development library where you can check out positive books and audios. If not, suggest they start one. Everyone wants to be great. They just need a little help to get there.
There are a lot of things you can do to reduce workplace stress. But, the key is taking action before it takes a toll on your mind, body and spirit. That negative chain reaction seems to be going around as of late, and you don’t want to fall victim to it. I care about you and your well being, and I sure hope my words encourage you wherever you are and whatever you are going through.
p.s. Bob recovered, ended up losing his job due to cutbacks. However, the experience turned his negative into a positive. He was able to revaluate priorities, find a new position with a company that values people, and go home each night as a happy man to his loving wife and kids.
p.s.s. I got let go too…and I too turned my adversity into an opportunity. I am now an author and in-demand motivational speaker who happens to be hilarious and the world’s worst cook. I can motivate you, but if you ask me to cook…y’all better run for the hills!
What tips do you have for managing stress in the workplace? What are you going through right now?