The Stress of Working Retail

The holiday shopping season is approaching, and we know that it can be an incredibly stressful time for retail industry workers and families alike. For retail and seasonal employees, there’s lots of standing, walking, stocking shelves, working long shifts, dealing with customers, and more.

A lot of the physical stress on your body can make the mental and emotional stress even worse and make you that much more susceptible to having a breakdown at work, an outburst at another person, or even getting sick, so it’s important for you to do what you can to make your body healthy and strong.

In 2016, retail workers experienced a combined injury and illness rate that is higher than the construction industry. The most hazardous work included transporting goods from delivery trucks to storage areas, then to shelves, as well as scanning and bagging items at the register.

The three most common injuries experienced by retail employees are:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Overexertion and contact with objects and equipment
  • Slips, trips, and falls

Aside from the physical injuries, having to encounter hundreds – sometimes thousands – of people during the winter season already makes you more likely to catch a cold or flu virus.

Keeping your immune system strong during this time is of utmost importance so that you either just get a mild case of an illness or don’t get sick at all.

This means exercising regularly, eating well, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and most importantly of all, managing your stress levels.

How Do I Maintain My Health In A Stressful Retail Environment?

If you are currently a retail employee or considering becoming a seasonal worker for the upcoming holiday season, now is a fantastic time to get started on your health and fitness habits so that when you begin those long and busy holiday shifts, you are already in shape and have the resources to decompress and alleviate any mental or physical stress you experience.

Below are some tips to help keep retail workers safe, avoid injury, and minimize any aches, pains, and stress.

Tips for Keeping Retail Workers Safe

  1. Get Comfortable Shoes
    Get some super comfortable walking shoes! You will be standing or walking pretty much the entire time during your very long shifts. Visit your local orthotic shop or running shoe store, explain your situation (job requirements) to them, and try out some specialized shoes designed to provide you with the most comfort and support without causing your feet any further damage.
  2. Wash Your Hands Often
    Wash your hands frequently to reduce the risk of common infections. This is especially crucial considering the sheer number of people you come into contact with on a daily basis during flu season.
  3. Stretch
    Stretch before, during, and after work to improve circulation throughout your body and ease the tension in your joints and muscles. Doing yoga after work or before bedtime is a great way to unwind so that you get a good night’s rest and wake up feeling refreshed.
  4. Practice Meditation
    Practice meditation, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. This will help you learn how to let go of unpleasant experiences you may have had throughout your day so that you don’t continue to overwhelm your mind with unnecessary stress. It will also help you learn how to stay calm in future negative situations.
  5. Strength Train
    Lift weights regularly and properly with good form. This will improve your posture and build up your strength so that having to squat or stand for long periods of time is easy for you. It will also help when you have to move heavy goods from one location to another, and in the event that you have to stand on a ladder for whatever reason, you will have a strong core to help you stay balanced. Exercising regularly also boosts your white blood cell count to help fight infections!
  6. Stay Hydrated and Eat Well
    Stay hydrated and maintain healthy eating habits. Eating better quality foods will have a tremendous positive impact on your productivity, energy level, attitude, muscle recovery, quality of sleep, and even improve your immune system. Not to mention, when you eat poorly, you feel poorly. Too many processed foods in your diet can make you sluggish, irritable, bloated, and slower to recover from injury or sickness.
  7. Get Enough Sleep
    Make sure you sleep for at least 7-8 hours a night! This will give your body enough time to fully recover from your day and keep your immune system healthy and strong.