The Japanese concept of “Karōshi” can almost literally be translated as “death from overwork.” The term first came into common usage in Japan during the 1980s after rising concern following the sudden death of several high-ranking business men who showed no signs of previous health issues. “Karōshi” has been attributed to a wide variety of stress-related medical issues, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke, to name a few.
Toward the end of April we asked Movin’ On Up readers how they coped with workplace stress. Stress can cause a variety of health problems, from slight headaches to major anxiety, so we wanted to see what our readers were doing to get through it.
The results were fairly close across the board. Just under 22% prefer to listen to or play music, 17.5% work through their problems by talking to others, and 14% exercise. Thirteen percent turn to hobbies, while an additional 12% take time to meditate or practice breathing exercises. Seven percent opt for a relaxing massage, and only 4% choose to look at cute animal pics. Just under 10% selected “Other,” with responses ranging from watching Netflix or TV to playing video games or praying.
So how can job seekers use this information? Everyone has their own “thing,” their own way of dealing with stress. That’s the first thing job seekers need to do—figure out what their “thing” is! Look at all of the survey options and figure out what really calms you down. And if that doesn’t work, invent some of your own. Everyone has different levels and types of stress, so the way each person deals with it is going to vary too.
Anything else you want to tell us about how you deal with workplace stress? Let us know in the comments below!
According to the National Sleep Foundation, many workers don’t get proper sleep and feel tired throughout the day. Chronic drowsiness and sleep deprivation cause many people issues at work, and many say they feel their work is “sub-par” because of it.
A 2008 Sleep in America poll discovered that 29 percent of employees polled admitted to falling asleep or becoming “very sleepy” at work during the previous month. An additional 12 percent said sleepiness caused them to be late to work within the last month.
Swing shift workers, those who juggle multiple jobs and people with irregular work hours seem to be the hardest hit by sleep issues. Chronic sleep deprivation is also tied to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.
Sleep is often the first thing people give up when faced with heavy workloads, parenting responsibilities, irregular work schedules and time-consuming challenges. The same NSF poll of sleep habits and the workplace found that while workers said they needed an average of seven hours and 18 minutes of sleep per night to be at their best the next workday, they reported an average of six hours and 40 minutes.
Even modest amounts of sleep loss accumulate over time, so a few nights of poor sleep can have a major impact on daily functioning, according to the NSF.
Loss of sleep isn’t just an inconvenience either. In high-risk fields such as medicine, the NSF discovered that when on-call residents work overnight, they have “twice as many attention failures, commit 36 percent more serious medical errors and report 300 percent more medical errors that lead to death than those who work a 16-hour shift.”
Tell-tale Signs That Lack of Sleep Is Affecting Your Career
Sleep deprivation can lead to “tremendous emotional problems,” according to Dr. Steven Feinsilver, the director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
Signs that employees are suffering from sleep problems include increased hunger, weight gain, memory problems, difficulty in making decisions, reduced motor skills, emotional fluctuations, poor vision and frequent illness.
These symptoms can lead to consequences that have a major impact on your career.
Quick Tips to Get More Sleep
Employees who have these symptoms or think that lack of sleep is hurting their performance can take steps to reverse the trend.
- Get evaluated by a physician to identify or rule out a treatable medical condition.
- Take advantage of sleep diaries and other resources from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).
- Ask a physician to refer you to a sleep specialist or center.
- Evaluate your career and priorities. Ask to reduce irregular hours or consider a job that does not require shift work.
- Have an honest conversation with a supervisor about how lack of sleep is affecting your performance and try to find a mutually-beneficial solution.
- Stick to a sleep schedule in which you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on days off.
- Keep electronics out of the bedroom.
- Limit stress by engaging in relaxing activities before bed, like meditation, reading or taking hot baths.
Although everyone has the occasional sleepless night, chronic sleep problems should be taken seriously before they negatively impact both you and your career.
Stressing about stress? How do you handle it?
For most people, work is going to be stressful from time to time. Looming deadlines, angry clients, uncooperative co-workers — the list goes on and on. And stress has a huge list of associated health problems. Mayo Clinic notes stress can cause headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, sleep problems, anxiety, irritability, and a host of other issues.
Prolonged stress can affect your work ethic and even your home life, which makes it all the more important for each of us to find a way to overcome it. Some people exercise, others throw themselves into side projects or fun hobbies, and others meditate or listen to calming music.
How do you deal with stress? Let us know by voting in our poll!
February is the month of love, which means it’s a time for Valentines, roses, and love songs. Do you know that love songs are more than just sappy lyrics or heart-wrenching vocals? In fact, some of the most popular love songs today have a message that can apply to your job search or career as well.
Here are five workplace lessons you can learn from popular love songs playing on the radio today!
- “Shut Up and Dance” – Walk the Moon
The lyrics say, “Oh don’t you dare look back. Just keep your eyes on me. I said you’re holding back. She said shut up and dance with me.” This song has many timely messages for the workplace. Like the lyrics suggest, don’t look back on past jobs, failures, or mistakes. Keep your eyes on the present and the ways you can succeed. When you look back, you lose track of your future, so ignore the voice that constantly reminds you of your past, and dance into making your career the best it can be. Stop procrastinating and holding back.
- “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars
Are you “too hot” and you know it? This song is perfect for you. Learn to accept your victories at work and do not be afraid to let your superiors know when you have succeeded. Letting your boss and co-workers know that you’ve achieved a milestone lets them see your talents, but also shows off the skills of the people on your team. And if someone thinks you can’t finish a project or deadline, just borrow the line, “Don’t believe me? Just watch!”
- “Stressed Out” – Twenty One Pilots
Yeah, we’ve all been there. We remember “the good old days when our momma sang us to sleep,” but now “we’re stressed out.” This song helps us remember that stress can be detrimental to not only our health, but our work quality as well. If you find that you are overwhelmed at your job, find ways to deal with that stress, like getting regular sleep, exercising to burn off energy, or talking with a supervisor about ways to lighten your load.
- “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” – Meghan Trainor featuring John Legend
This song is a great reminder to be grateful for your job every day. With the confusing economy, lots of workers have been laid off and are desperate for a job. Never take for granted that your position is not invincible. Work at all times to make yourself valuable and irreplaceable so you won’t have to worry about losing your job.
- “Sorry” – Justin Bieber
Guess what? Even rock stars make mistakes. In this song, Bieber says, “You gotta go and get angry at all of my honesty. You know I try but I don’t do too well with apologies. I hope I don’t run out of time, could someone call the referee? ‘Cause I just need one more shot at forgiveness.” If you make a mistake at work, own up to it. Honestly confessing that something went wrong and then finding a way to make it right works much better than covering up the mistake or blaming someone else. Sometimes, everyone needs one more shot. Likely, if you are honest and have a plan to correct your mistake, you’ll get that shot to redeem yourself.
Do you have any love songs that motivate you at work too? Share your favorites in the comments section below!
Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.
Heart disease affects all areas of your life, including your career. Since February is American Heart Month, it’s a great time to understand the risks of heart disease and learn ways you can stay healthy on the job.
Cardiovascular disease and strokes are not only common, they’re costly. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) says that the total economic cost of heart disease five years ago was $320 billion. By 2030, those costs are expected to reach $918 billion.
According to recent research, heart patients spent an average of $4,400 on medical care for heart-related issues. Given that cost, it’s important to know how you can protect yourself from heart diease and help keep your friends, family, and co-workers healthy at the same time.
The AHA suggests regular screenings to make sure you’re health is in check. Health care is easily accessible, which makes it a great time to get screened for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and more. Contact your doctor to find out how you can schedule a screening.
We all know the importance of eating healthy. Proper nutrition helps cut your risk of cardiovascular disease, so be sure to incorporate fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your meals. Instead of frying your food, consider grilling it when you can. Consider bringing your lunch to work and packing healthy food like fruits, light sandwiches, and juice.
Exercising can be as easy as going for a walk around the block. When it comes to staying healthy, you just have to put forth the effort. It’s recommended that adults engage in moderate to intense exercise for at least 30 minutes, five days a week. But don’t give up if you can’t reach that goal. Small activities can add up quickly, like taking the stairs, walking the dog, or cleaning the house.
Cut Out Stress
One of the biggest factors in heart disease is stress. And let’s be honest, we’re all a bit stressed from time to time. While stress is natural, it can negatively effect your health. Consider adding a few techniques to your every day routine that may help cut down on the stress you put on your mind and body. Try meditation, relaxation exercises, or counseling to reduce stress and improve your health.
Learn to spot the events or activities that bring you stress and turn them around before you become overwhelmed. Know your limits, eliminate stressful relationships, and analyze your priorities before starting projects. If you feel overwhelemed at work, don’t hesitate to talk to your supervisor about your workload and make suggestions for how you can better accomplish your tasks without the extra stress.
How do you protect your heart health? Share your tips in the comments section below.
Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.
Have you had a good look at your desk lately? What do you see? Do you have piles of papers stacked up, dirty coffee cups lying about, or dust gathering? Is last week’s lunch still lurking behind your computer monitor?
Believe it or not, that cluttered desk may be costing you hours of wasted time and could also add to workplace stress.
Whether you share an office, work from home, or have a work area on a counter somewhere, keeping your work space clean, organized, and uncluttered can help you work more efficiently and give you a sense of relaxation.
Monday, Jan. 11, is National Clean Off Your Desk Day in the United States, and we want to help you not only clean your workspace, but also become better organized for the new year. Here are some tips to do just that:
- Start the great purge. Empty your desk’s drawers and throw away or give away anything you don’t use regularly. File those piles of papers into organized folders or recycle them if they are unnecessary.
- Organize the purge. As you remove items from your desk and work area, make piles. Have a pile for papers, a pile for office supplies, a pile for personal items, and a pile for everything else. Go through each pile and purge or organize as needed.
- Time to sanitize. Now that your desk is bare, clean it. Use sanitary wipes or cleaning spray to scrub the entire area. Use cleaners and computer spray to clean your computer as well. According to a study from the University of Arizona, your keyboard is one of the dirtiest things you touch every day, so make sure to give that a good wipe down as well.
- Make your desk make sense. Categorize your items into areas that need immediate attention, things that need follow-up work, and things you can pass along or put on the back burner.
- Presentation matters. Try to put your items back in a way that looks pleasing to you and your co-workers. For example, find nice storage containers or baskets and create labels to help keep your space more organized.
- Make a goal to clean off your desk every week. Friday afternoons are a good time to do a weekly cleaning and organizing so that your desk or workspace are clean and pleasant for the start of the next work week.
Still not convinced that a tidy work area is important? Consider a report issued by OfficeMax in 2011 that found office clutter undermines productivity and motivation. In addition, researchers have found that people who are organized typically eat better and live longer than people who are disorderly. Convinced yet? Go ahead and break out the cleaning supplies, but remember to keep your organization limited to breaks. While cleanliness is important, it’s also important to respect your work time.
What do you think? Any tips on organization you’d like to share? Give us your best desk-cleaning tips in the comments section below!
Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.