Stressed out?

Stressed out?

Do you feel like you’re permanently ill? It could be that stress is what’s dragging you down. It’s Men’s Health week this week and the focus is on work and health, two areas that are inextricably linked.

What does work have to do with health?

According to the Men’s Health Forum, we spend 11.5 years working. That’s a long time to be sitting at a desk staring at a computer, or bent underneath a sink wrestling with pipes. Whatever your job - sedentary, hard labour or somewhere in between, it will take its toll on your body physically.

It’s not just the physical side though. The mental stress that comes with most jobs can have a huge effect on your health. Even more stressful is being out of work; redundancy and unemployment will have you waking up in a cold sweat.

How does stress affect health?

Stress increases the risk of heart attack by 50% and causes migraines. It is also linked to a number of other ailments, including asthma, diabetes, skin disorders, depression, indigestion, hay fever, colitis and ulcers.

How to recognise stress

Physical symptoms of stress include: headache, dry mouth, back ache, neck ache, eye twitching, nausea, indigestion, sexual problems, disturbed sleep and panic attacks.

Mental symptoms of stress include: poor concentration, withdrawal, short term memory loss, frustration, irritability, anger and depression.

I’m stressed. What do I do about it?

Firstly, take time to relax and look after yourself. Take regular breaks at work and don’t be afraid to push back if you feel you’ve too much on your plate.

Exercise is vital for maintaining mental fitness. Even a moderate 30 minutes a day will help to reduce the levels of stress causing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol in your body, while increasing your levels of endorphins, the body's feel good hormone. 

Exercise will help you to sleep more soundly, too. A study found that a weekly 150 minutes of moderate exercise significantly improved sleep quality.

Exercise also provides a great opportunity to take regular time out for yourself, away from the stress and pressure of work and family commitments. 

Our prescription? Follow up a good gym workout with a sauna, steam, massage and leisurely swim. You’ll feel like a new man.

Comments

Sasha B.
12 June 2014

Sasha B.

Goodness me, some of those statistics are scary. Stress increasing the risk of heart attacks by 50%? I had no idea! My poor hubbie gets stressed, so I am so pleased he also makes an effort to keep himself fit, to counteract the effects of stress.

Freya W.
11 June 2014

Freya W.

Don't men tend to bottle stuff up loads more as well? That must add to the stress of life.

Mike D.
11 June 2014

Mike D.

I think the comments below are very sad to read. Stress is inevitable in any job but there are those of us who would go to work for free (if we were financially able to). What's the alternative? Unemployment? boredom? The key is to accept stress as part of life and learn tools to manage it. Like exercise. I'm incredibly lucky to have a job I love and the stress is just part of the package

Roger B.
10 June 2014

Roger B.

Tom is quite right - if it was fun, we would do it for free! There are jobs that are more fun than others but basically you get paid because you wouldn't do it otherwise.

Tom J.
9 June 2014

Tom J.

Work is what stresses me out. Only quitting will help that. You can relax all you want but work stress will still be there

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