5 Ways to Keep Work from Making You Sick

5 Ways to Keep Work from Making You Sick© Stockbyte/Thinkstock
Is your job making you sick? According to a recently published analysis of nearly 80 studies, workplace stress can lead to physical symptoms—from gastrointestinal issues to sleep problems and more. To stay physically and emotionally healthy, make sure you follow these steps at the office:

1. Ask for what you need.
Organizational constraints—those things about your job or your workplace that prevent you from successfully carrying out your responsibilities or advancing your career—are the primary cause of work-related physical illnesses. If something’s getting in the way of your doing your job (lack of administrative support, obsolete technology, a counterproductive colleague), don’t keep your frustration bottled up.

Set up a meeting (or regular meetings) with your supervisor to discuss possible solutions to the situation. Likewise, if you feel your responsibilities should be growing, meet with your boss to establish career goals and a clear path to achieving them.

2. Don’t get caught in the middle.
When two supervisors disagree about how to do something, not knowing whose instructions to follow can literally give you a stomachache. Avoid these situations whenever possible by explaining your difficult position to your direct supervisor. Ultimately, your work reflects upon her, so it’s in her best interest to come to your aid. If you’re caught between two immediate supervisors, it may be time to pay a visit to HR.

3. Avoid office politics.
Interpersonal conflict is stressful anywhere, but it can be particularly noxious in the workplace, where most of the time you simply can’t ignore your colleagues. Whenever possible, preserve your piece of mind by steering clear of confrontation and potentially explosive situations. If a co-worker’s behavior is (literally) keeping you up at night, speak to him about it first. If nothing changes, discuss your concerns with your supervisor and, if necessary, your human resources representative.

4. Prioritize your work.
It probably won’t shock you to learn that the studies pointed to a direct connection between a heavy workload and fatigue. While lightening your load may not always be possible, you can lessen your stress by prioritizing your responsibilities and tackling those that are most urgent first. When you have so much to do that you simply can’t accomplish all of it, knowing that the big stuff is taken care of should leave you feeling (slightly) less exhausted at the end of the day.

5. Seek clarity.
Has your position evolved over time? Were your responsibilities never clearly defined? If so, you may be experiencing what’s referred to as “role ambiguity,” and the stress that goes along with not knowing exactly what you should be doing and, often more importantly, what your colleagues and managers think you should be doing. Clear up any confusion by meeting with your supervisor and creating a job description that includes a list of your responsibilities and any expected outcomes.

Sources: PsyBlog, Work & Stress

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram

@kristencarney

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.

@sixthformpoet

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”

@NicCageMatch

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.

Fields marked with an * are required
Foods That Harm Foods That HealWant a Free eBook?
FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL offers important information about the role diet plays in the struggle against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Answer the question below to receive your FREE digital eBook.

Someone in my household experiences the following conditions:

Send me a link to download FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL:
By clicking below, I agree to the Trusted Media Brands Privacy Policy