Author: Linda Sinden Date Posted:24 August 2019
A little work stress can provide challenge and enjoyment, but too much and one can become overloaded and distressed.
Work stress can be tough as you can’t get away from it. You have to show up each day in order to provide for yourself and loved ones who may be dependant upon you.
Extreme work stress impedes job satisfaction, negatively affects overall happiness and impacts your confidence and productivity while at work. When we worry about problems at work, deadlines, conflicts with colleagues, or job security, our ability to relax at home or while participating in recreational activities is often affected.
It is essential to feel empowered and competent in your job and to feel at ease with the people you interact with regularly.
Origins of work stress
Workplace stress can have many origins or come from one single event. It can impact on both employees and employers alike. Examples of the causes of workplace stress include unmanageable workloads, periods of change, such as management shifts or redundancies, moving branches or departments and promotions.
A study based in Dunedin, New Zealand, found that
- women who reported high levels of psychological job demands - such as long hours, pressure or lack of clear direction - were 75 per cent more likely to suffer from clinical depression or general anxiety disorder than women who reported the lowest levels.
- Men with high levels of these work stress factors were 80 per cent more likely to be depressed or anxious, than those with the lowest levels.
Am I stressed?
Often, we experience a number of stress-related emotional and bodily symptoms, but do not identify these as 'stress'. A stressed individual may experience:
- Physical symptoms such as pain, hypertension, rashes, migraine, worsening of premenstrual syndrome, heart disease and stroke.
- Mental symptoms such as reduced memory, concentration, problem solving or decision-making ability and be more error-prone.
- Behaviour changes such as sleep disturbance, lowered productivity, deteriorating relationships with workmates, family or friends; or an increase of gambling, cigarettes, alcohol and other recreational drugs.
Is a colleague stressed?
When you or a colleague have the following, "stress overload" is happening
- Sleep disturbance; not being able to get to sleep and/or waking in the night
- Suffer from fatigue
- Stressed individuals have slower reactions and complain about their health, for example frequent headaches and have changes in appetite.
- Experience mental symptoms such as reduced memory, concentration, problem solving or decision making ability, and be more error-prone. They can become irritable or indecisive, ‘down’, anxious (suffer from panic attacks) or clinically depressed.
- Exhibit behavioural changes such as lowering of performance, absenteeism or presenteeism, arriving late and or leaving early, and show reduced confidence and motivation. Stressed people can become belligerent, cynical, show lack of engagement, poor motivation, low confidence and have deteriorating relationships with workmates, family or friends, or behave badly.
- Drink more alcohol or smoke more cigarettes than usual or turn to other recreational drugs.
How to wind-back work stress
Here are some ideas on how you can reduce stress in your workplace
- Ask for help when you need it. If you are unable to do a particular task alone, ask a co-worker or supervisor for help. Sharing the work may reduce stress.
- Co-operate. If you disagree with someone at work, look for one thing you can agree about. Try a little ‘give and take.’
- Approach stressors positively. The way you think about a stressor can affect the way your body responds to it. If you think positively and talk to yourself and others in a positive way, you can keep your stress levels in check. When you flood your mind with negative ideas, you will only increase your stress levels.
- Learn new skills. Learning a new skill can help reduce the stress in your life. If you know of a training or development opportunity that is relevant to your work and that would help you to be a more efficient and effective employee, ask your employer if you can attend the training.
- Try assertiveness training. This can help you to deal with demanding co-workers in a diplomatic and constructive way.
- Learn to manage your time effectively. This will help you to meet deadlines and make better use of your time.
- Develop problem-solving skills. These skills will help you to find your own solutions to stressful situations
- Make more general lifestyle changes. Stress can be greatly reduced by implementing simple changes in your lifestyle, including:
- Regular exercise
- Relaxation techniques such as Transcendental Meditation www.tm.org.nz
- Herbal support to reduce the body’s hair-trigger response to stress.
- Take Stress Free Mind to help reduce mental stress and fatigue especially when you notice a tendency for worry, anxiousness, restless mind or overthinking things.It also helps to support your immunity that can become challenged when stressed.
- Take Stress Free Emotions to help balance out the emotional highs and lows throughout the day. It naturally helps to reduce irritability, frustration or bouts of anger.
- Sip Worry Free tea during the day to help stabilize emotions, calm the mind and soothe frayed nerves.
- Making time for things you enjoy
- Talking to supportive friends and family
- Eating well-balanced meals at regular intervals - avoid skipping meals. Take your largest quantity of food at lunchtime and a lighter and warm evening meal by 6pm
- Getting plenty of sleep and take herbal support if needed to aid quality sleep.
- Take Peace of Mind to help calm and soothe the mind and senses to support a more natural sleep.
Wishing you the bliss of balance this week and always!