According to a recent survey, South African professionals are stressed out. How do you manage work stress? 

According to the 2017 Profmed Stress Index, work stress remains a large problem for South African professionals.

The Index, which is compiled from responses of nearly 3 000 of Profmed’s professional members, reveals that 45,5% of respondents saw work as the biggest contributor to stress in their lives.

Stress-related illness

Of the respondents, 10,09% indicated that they have taken time off from work due to stress-related illnesses over the past six months.

Graham Anderson, CEO of Profmed, says that an area of concern is the increase in the number of professionals who feel they are not managing stress effectively. In 2017, the number reached 29,15%, an increase from the previous year’s 28,3%.

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This could be a result of inflation and financial pressures, poor financial planning or debt management, or lifestyle choices that don’t promote good health.

A recent study found that stress may just as harmful to our bodies as living on junk food. And since many of us reach for junk food when we feel stressed, the problem is only compounded.

Job burnout

Unresolved, work stress could lead to job burnout.

According to a Tel Aviv University study, there is a link between job burnout and coronary heart disease (CHD) – the build-up of plaque in the coronary arteries that leads to angina and heart attacks.

“Managing your stress plays a very important role in avoiding many diseases which could have severe implications on your health going forward. We strongly encourage people to learn more about the effects of stress and how to effectively manage them,” says Anderson.

Related: Are you headed for job burnout?

How to walk away from stress

We know that exercise helps release those feel-good endorphins, so it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular ways to try deal with stress.

In fact, the Stress Index reveals that respondents who actively exercise to deal with stress increased from 37,6% in 2016 to 41,67% in 2017.

What’s more, exercise helps your heart deal with stress. A study on rats found that aerobic exercise kept the blood vessels of stressed rats working normally. Researchers say that this means that exercise may be an important way to promote cardiovascular health in chronically stressed individuals.

Another way to fight stress is to pick up the mighty pen. A Michigan State University study found that writing about your feelings before a stressful task could help you perform more efficiently.

So, the next time you feel stressed at work and need to get some perspective, try writing about it or going for walk during your lunch break.

Related: The secret to thriving

Sources: 2017 Profmed Stress Index, Brigham Young University, University of Toronto and Michigan State University