Stress... The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Today's election will determine who will run our country for the next 4 years. It really makes you start to think—if any of us feel stress or pressure in our jobs, can you imagine how much stress the President deals with everyday? There are two types of stress: positive and negative. Positive stress keeps you on your toes. It is excitement and energy when you are passionate about something. Negative stress is the bad stress… and it may be the type of stress you are more familiar with as nearly 80% of workers feel stress on the job. You need to be aware of when you are experiencing negative stress because it may be affecting your health. Effects will manifest themselves on your body (headaches, sleep problems, upset stomach), your mood (anxiety, depression, irritability), and through your behavior (change in eating habits, outbursts, social withdrawal).

Because negative stress may be unavoidable at work, it is important to learn ways to help your body and mind cope. Keeping your workplace organized and clutter free will not only help keep you calmer, it will also help you be more on task and productive. It is important to maintain control over the situation at hand and prioritize what needs to be done. Do remember to give yourself a life outside of work, too. Relaxing with family and friends can help keep your stress level down as it gives you the chance to clear your mind and forget about your responsibilities for a bit. Also, be sure to have a hobby or an outlet that can distract you and give you breathing time each day. For me, it’s important to remember to “unplug”—if I don’t turn off my phone or step away from my computer for a few hours before bed, I struggle to fall asleep as I stress about work.

I firmly believe that exercise is also crucial in stress management. Each time you exercise, endorphins (your body's "feel-good" neurotransmitters) are released in your brain—leading to feelings of euphoria and lower negative effects of stress. Exercise also improves your sleep and your mood—who doesn’t love that?

Determining coworkers you can rely on at work can also be a big stress reducer. These are people you can turn to for help when things get too overbearing, and that sense of comradery can be vital when you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a helping hand. My team at work is essential for me to succeed as a business owner—no one can do it all alone. Knowing that I have a strong team behind me who have the same goal and want the best for the company is a source of stress relief in itself.

Even though work might seem overly stressful at times, if you take these small steps you can eliminate unnecessary negative stress and improve your happiness and health. Remember to reward yourself and give yourself breaks. If things escalate too far and you are under more stress than you can manage turn to others for help. There are ways to balance your work and your personal life without being overburdened… you just need to take the time to find that balance!

What do you do to cope with stress on the job? I’d love to hear your tips!

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    Caitlin Hofherr

    Before founding Alter Ego Concierge, Caitlin Hofherr worked as the director of a lifestyle management and staffing agency in New York, catering to the needs of elite clientele ranging from Fortune 500 CEO’s to today's biggest celebrities. Beginning her career in the fashion industry working in public relations, Caitlin brought unparalleled customer service to the staffing industry, finding the perfect fit for her clients' household needs. Highly regarded by her clients and peers in the industry, Caitlin has taken her expertise to Chicago, establishing Alter Ego Concierge to bring the finest in lifestyle management services. Alter Ego Concierge is Chicago’s premier full service concierge and domestic staffing agency, offering clients the ability to truly maximize their time to live a stress free life. Caitlin is a contributor at Simply Magnificent, the blog for the Ritz Carlton Residences of Chicago, and has been featured on DailyCandy, ABC News Chicago, Chicago Parent, NBC Chicago, and Mommy On A Shoestring Radio. Caitlin lives in, and loves, Chicago.

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