Did your job make the top 10 most stressful list?
Work-related stress can be heartbreaking—literally. Here are four ways to manage your workday.
Work can be stressful, from tight deadlines and long hours to difficult people and tough decisions. Over time, this kind of stress can damage your heart, especially if you are a woman.
Women in stressful jobs have a significantly higher risk of heart disease, according to the 2010 landmark Women's Health Study. While further studies are needed to confirm the link, excessive stress can lead to such known risk factors for heart disease as high blood pressure. Stress can also lead to poor lifestyle choices such as overeating, drinking too much alcohol, smoking and not sleeping well. These habits are all associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Can't leave your stressful job? These strategies can help you to manage your workday:
1. Get moving. A study published in January 2015 showed that increased sedentary time—like sitting at a desk—increases your risk not only for heart disease, but also type 2 diabetes, cancer and even death. To combat the harmful effects of sitting at work, build or buy a standing desk, get up and visit a colleague instead of sending an email, suggest a walking meeting or start a lunchtime fitness routine with a friend.
2. Brown-bag it. Skip the drive-thru and pack a healthy lunch. You'll do your heart a favor by cutting back on sugar, salt and fat found in fast food. Additionally, keep heart-healthy snacks—like nuts, fruits and veggies, and even dark chocolate—close by so you're less likely to drop money on chips at the vending machine.
3. Take a deep breath. Mind-body medicine like meditation and controlled breathing are helpful ways to calm the mind and reduce stress. When stress hits, even if you have only a few minutes, find a quiet place to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. You'll be back on your game in no time.
4. Set boundaries. Knowing your limits and when to scale back on commitments—whether work-related or personal—is important. It's OK to say "no" when you're feeling overextended and stressed out. Your mind, and your body, will thank you.
How does your job rank? Here are the most stressful jobs of 2016, according to Forbes.com:
- Enlisted military personnel
- Police officer
- Event coordinator
- Public relations executive
- Senior corporate executive
- Newspaper reporter
- Taxi driver