07/12/2017 11:26 GMT | Updated 07/12/2017 11:26 GMT

The Biggest Cause Of Stress In 2017? Work

Not health, not money, not even romance – but work. Yeah, we know – it took a study to work that out?!

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Work is the biggest cause of stress in 2017 among South African professionals.

Nearly half of 3,000 professionals surveyed by Profmed said work stressed them more than money, health, family or romance.

More than half of the respondents claimed that stress had both an emotional and physical impact on them, with 10.9 percent of the respondents taking time off due to stress-related illness in the past six months.

Another area of concern was the increase in the number of professionals who felt they are not managing stress effectively. This year's number reached 29.15 percent, an increase from the previous year's result of 28.3 percent, according to the 2016 Stress Index.

"Finding effective ways to manage stress is what will make the difference in the quality of life for hard-working professionals, and it's the only way to avoid [falling prone] to stress-related illnesses,' explained Profmed's CEO, Graham Anderson.

1. If you don't take time out, you will burn out.

That's why there are weekends and leave days. Don't overwork yourself. Burnout can get the better of you, even if you have great passion for your work.

2. Some exercise will help

Exercise releases endorphins, also known as "happy hormones", which increase levels of focus and improve your sleep, both of which reduce stress.

3. Emotional intelligence

Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management are important in the workplace, otherwise you may not be able to navigate social complexities and the different personalities at work.

4. Sleep

If you don't get enough sleep, your body boosts its levels of stress hormones. The brain chemicals connected with deep sleep are the same ones that tell the body to stop the production of stress hormones.

5. Simplify your life

Particularly in busy work seasons, allow yourself to focus on your work by simplifying other aspects of your life. If you can outsource laundry or hire a nanny to look after the kids, do that. This relieves additional personal pressure you might feel on top of work stress.