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Stacy Rochelle, a regional director for the California Employers Association, presents a workshop on how to reduce stress and burnout in the workplace at the Hesperia Library.

Stress mess

Learning to handle stress will reduce burnout in the workplace, expert says

Star Editor

Some people have a difficult time concentrating on tasks, others are short-tempered with co-workers. However it is manifested, the core cause of a host of workplace symptoms is all the same: It’s stress.

“I know when I wake up and my hands are clenched — that’s not a good sign,” said Stacy Rochelle, a regional director for the California Employers Association.

And Rochelle, who presented the “Managing Burnout in the Workplace” workshop at the Hesperia Library, says she is not alone. “Eight out of 10 adults are stressed out.”

Stress overload leads to burnout, which can be harmful to a career — or even one’s life.

“If you are in a continuous state of stress, your body never leaves the fight or flight mode,” she said. “Burnout is simply stress overload.”

Warning signs include stomach problems, headaches, chest pain, insomnia, depression.

According to Rochelle, stress causes people to behave in difference ways. Stress can lead to alcohol or drug abuse, angry outbursts, frequent crying, excessive worrying, decline in job performance or becoming accident prone. People often experience headaches, lose or gain weight, experience sleep disturbances or have tremors or muscle twitching.

Emotional symptoms also arise including experiencing anxiety, fear, guilt, grief or apathy.

Rochelle suggested several ways to handle stress.

“It’s really important in the workplace to inject some humor,” said Rochelle, whose workshop was presented by the CEA and the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board.

Workshop attendee Sophie Steeno, who works with her husband Tom Steeno at the couple’s Steeno Design Studio in Hesperia, had a more unusual approach to let off steam.

“I have a set of drums in my office” she said.

Rochelle suggested companies should take stress seriously. Not taking action could result in increased absenteeism, tardiness, stress claims or more.

“The key is as a manager you need to be an observer. Learn what stresses your workers.”

She suggested managers develop perks to reduce stress and create a more upbeat work environment.

“You have to start with a plan and you have to start working your plan. Get it going immediately. Then you can tend to the larger issues.”

Helping employees concentrate on positive solutions in a healthy working environment has a big payoff.

After all, Rochelle said, “We become what we focus on.”

For more information from the CEA, log onto www.employers.org or call (800) 399-5331.


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