Hi, everyone! I'm Jim Miles, Senior Safety Specialist at CSM Group.

Today is Day 2 of National Construction Safety Week, and today's topic is Healthy Mind, Healthy Body. Being safe means paying attention to both mind and body. It extends beyond wearing hard hats and safety glasses. It means recognizing how important mental health really is to everyone's overall safety. From suicide to distractions that lead to devastating accidents, it is important that we all recognize the importance of total well-being. When workers are physically and mentally safe, everyone wins.

In recognition of this topic, I would like to discuss stress in the workplace.

Stress is something that everyone experiences and can have negative effects on the body and mind. There are many signs of stress, including:

  • Taking more time off work than usual
  • Greater use of substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs (prescription and illegal)
  • Increased irritability, poor concentration, and/or reduced productivity
  • Deteriorating personal or work relationships
  • Becoming more "emotional," moody, or over-reactive to what others say
  • Starting to behave differently than the norm
  • Change in eating and sleep patterns
  • Physical reactions such as sweating, palpitations, and increased blood pressure
  • Feeling negative, depressed, and anxious most of the time
  • Feeling trapped or frustrated -- and believing there is no solution

The good news is that there are many ways to control stress. If you start to feel yourself becoming anxious or stressed, try the following strategies:

  • Exercise
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Find humor in situations and laugh
  • Avoid procrastination
  • Take a yoga class
  • Eat healthily
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Call a friend
  • Do something you enjoy
  • Get organized, make a list

Our industry is often labeled as an "old school" or "tough" culture, but we must realize this is changing. Embracing the culture of caring that is sweeping our industry creates a workplace support network that is critical for workers in need. If you see a colleague that appears stressed, stop, take the initiative, and intervene. You just may be the help that person needs or even save a life.

About the author

Jim Miles

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