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Second hand stress?

Thank you to Terry Wynne, one of our associate coaches, for this article. I had personally never heard of second-hand stress as a term, but it makes sense. You can be in the right career for you and still experience this kind of stress. And if it’s overwhelming, it can make that job no longer a fit for you long term. So be mindful of it. When you’re vetting out a new job, notice the atmosphere or energy in the office before you commit to taking the job. Here we go with Terry…

Heidi Hanna, author of Stressaholic: 5 Ways to Transform Your Relationship with Stress, believes you can pick up stress from others through what she labels as “second-hand stress.” This stress can spread like a virus and the office is one of the most contagious places to catch it. You may overhear disagreements or witness conflict, and in turn, react with physical tension. You can read more information in the following article:, but meanwhile, here are some suggestions from Heidi Hanna:

  • Stay calm.
    (Slow down and try not to rush through tasks and appointments.)
  •  Take breaks.
    (Schedule a five-minute break every hour.)
  • Create a second-hand-stress-free culture.
    (Strive for an environment where everyone tries to decrease stress.)

Some work environments encourage workouts at a gym by providing time off, promote laughter through wholesome email jokes, or schedule regular company parties. In any case, as an individual, you’re responsible for managing your first-hand as well as your second-hand stress. If you need any help in doing so, many companies offer an employee assistance program where trained counselors will help you at no charge. If necessary, contact a counselor on your own. After all, relaxation may be a laughing matter, but uncontrolled stress is certainly no joke!

Hallie Crawford and Terry Wynne, Ed.S., LPC, BCC
Certified Career Coaches

P.S. Be sure to check out our LinkedIn Consulting Program where you can learn how to effectively leverage your LinkedIn account for your job search and ongoing professional development.