The USA Today had an interesting report a couple of days ago.
Stressed workers often reach for calorie-rich foods, skip the gym after a taxing day or forego meals because of heavy workloads. Or they indulge in other bad-for-you behavior like smoking, drinking or staying out late.
As the credit and housing crises rattle Wall Street, pressures over bigger workloads, job security and shrinking nest eggs are upending diets and fueling unhealthy habits across the country.
Breakfast is diet Pepsi and two packets of M&M’s. For lunch, macaroons and white chocolates filled with marzipan from the farmer’s market near Wall Street.
Eating right and getting exercise may seem burdensome and even frivolous under such circumstances, but it actually gives people a greater sense of control and calm, said registered dietitian Heather Bauer, author of The Wall Street Diet.
Stress can take more serious, physical tolls. People under great stress release hormones and nerve chemicals that weaken the immune system, rendering them more susceptible to illness, said Dr. Esther Sternberg, who studies the effects of stress at the National Institute of Mental Health. Stress can also slow the body’s ability to heal wounds, she said.
That could all translate into higher worker absenteeism, and those who do show up are likely not as productive when under great stress, said David Ballard, who specializes in work stress issues at the American Psychological Association.
Taking such measures to reduce stress will only become more critical as the economic forecast darkens.
The nation’s unemployment rate, now at 5.1%, is expected to move higher in coming months. Gasoline and food prices are at record levels, too, with ground beef, milk, apples, coffee and orange juice costing more these days.