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Program focuses on stress relief

To help employees reduce the negative effects of stress, MUSC Employee Wellness will focus on stress management during October.

In addition to weekly free chair massages available to employees, Wellness Wednesday booths will focus on stress management and a series of lunch and learn sessions will be held each week beginning Oct. 12. Topics will include stress and sleep. A free outdoor yoga/tai chi class will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in the Horseshoe Oct. 26.

According to a summary of the American Psychological Association's Stress in the Workplace Survey in March, more than one third (36 percent) of workers said they typically feel tense or stressed out during their work day and almost half (49 percent) said low salary is significantly impacting their stress level at work. Twenty percent report that their average daily level of stress from work is an 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale.

Effects of work-related stress include the following signs and symptoms: Headache, sleep disturbances, difficulty in concentrating, short temper, upset stomach; job dissatisfaction and low morale.

In addition to these short-term effects, studies suggest that chronic stress can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, psychological disorders, workplace injury, suicide, cancer, ulcers and impaired immune function.

Job stress is costly, with an annual price tag for U.S. businesses of more than $300 billion annually due to increased absenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity, medical, legal and insurance expenses and Workers' Compensation payments. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, health care expenditures are nearly 50 percent greater for workers who report high levels of stress.

For information, email

Employee Wellness events

  • Flu Shot Clinic: Free flu shots for employees from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., Oct. 5 in Children's Hospital lobby. Employees should bring their ID badge and their employee ID or a completed consent form (
  • Wellness Wednesday: MUSC Employee Assistance Program is a worksite-based program designed to assist employees in identifying and resolving personal and occupational concerns that may affect job performance. Visit the Wellness Wednesday booth from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Oct. 5 at Ashley River Tower to learn about services available to employeees. To learn about MUSC EAP, email Jeni Bowers-Palmer at


Friday, Sept. 30, 2011

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.