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In countless work and life studies, employees are asking for more strategies for managing stress in the workplace, given our fast paced world. The problem isn’t only that stress causes accidents in the workplace, but according to The American Institute of Stress, America's biggest health problem is stress and "job stress is the major culprit."
You can use these free stress management in the workplace articles and resources to help employees begin to see there are workplace based solutions to reduce stress which are fast, efficient, and don’t require a change of clothes. Even a diverse workforce should be able to find one of the sites appropriate to their physical condition and learning style.
How Does Physical Stretching Relieve Workplace Stress?
Many employees may still resist the idea of the mind-body connection and the mind and body interact to create workplace stress. Yet, more and more studies prove that if the mind is constantly agitated or overwhelmed, the body most likely is too. Erik Nieuwenhuis, MS, PT and Work Injury Prevention Specialist and Wellness Consultant at Iowa’s St Luke’s Health System, developed this succinct list of the top ten reasons to do daily stretches at work:
10. Increased ability to perform everyday tasks at work, home and play.
9. Decreased risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and cumulative trauma disorders (CTD) injuries.
8. Increased quality and quantity of joint synovial fluid (less joint wear and tear) and reduced arthritis pain.
7. Increased neuro-muscular coordination (better reaction time, balance, and reduced risks of falling and/or having an injury).
6. Reduced muscle fatigue and soreness, which occurs because your body flushes out the lactic and uric acids which are the by-product of your muscles, ligaments and tendons.
5. Improved muscle balance and posture which will reduce your risks of MSD and CTD injuries.
4. Decreased risk of pain to the lower back, neck, shoulders, knees, hips, elbows, wrists and hands.
3. Increased blood supply and nutrients to your muscles, tendons and joints which gives your body and mind more energy.
2. Reduced stress.
1. Enhanced enjoyment and quality of your everyday life with your family, friends, coworkers and hobbies you enjoy.
Recommended Employee Wellness Websites about Workplace Stretching to Reduce Stress
If your company allows employees to access the web during work hours, here are sites that employees can use to get ideas for stretching the body parts most impacted by stress. These useful employee wellness websites do not require membership, flash drives, or endless patience to weed through pop-up ads or hype. Using that criteria and knowledge of the most effective workplace stress management techniques, the sites below will meet the needs of a diverse workforce with little overlap of activities. All of the sites have photos, videos, or drawings to show how to correctly do the recommended movements.
Some helpful sites about workplace stretching include: Ergo Answers
- Offers pictures and written instructions for mini-stretches to help reduce problems related to frequent computer use. Good website for basic ergonomic concepts and tips on how to make a workstation more ergonomic. Canadian Healthy Workplace Week
- This site was developed for the Canadian government’s Workplace Week in 2004, the free downloadable seven page PDF file has easy-to-follow drawings and instructions for 16 different stretches for various parts of the body. It also briefly explains a breathing technique and progressive relaxation. Mayo Clinic
- Offers video has two stretches for the lower body. The site also has other short videos of workplace stretches and a helpful 15 minute routine using seven stretches to relieve back pain but five of them involve lying on the floor. The floor option just isn’t feasible for many of us at the office but these stretches may help in allowing people with chronic back problems to stay in the office. About.com
- If you search for stress relief on About.com, you can find many helpful pages on various stress relief techniques. This particular page has seven yoga stretches for stress relief at a workstation.
Chinese Holistic Health - This site was developed by an Australian doctor who has more than 10 years of traditional Chinese medicine experience, this site offers pictures with detailed instructions of many of the stretches found above but also offers instructions on how to use acupressure to relieve stress throughout the body. Acupressure uses the same trigger points or needle points as acupuncture but people can use their own fingers to apply pressure.
Recommended Website about “Stretching” the Mind to Relieve StressHealthy Place for Mental Health - Frequent author and lecturer Dr. Susan M. Lark excerpts a chapter from her book, “The Menopause Self Help Book,” which targets stress reduction exercises to reduce anxiety. Not for women only, the 14 techniques include meditations, visualizations, relaxation techniques and affirmations. If the link above doesn’t work, go to www.healthyplace.com and search for “Relaxation Techniques for Relief of Anxiety and Stress.”
If you like, check these sites out yourself first before forwarding this column onwards to employees. I am confident you will gain some knowledge to help navigate the mine fields of stress and anxiety that constitute daily life for many in America.
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