20 Aug Work Related Stress
Do you struggle to get up and get to work? Dream of throwing your laptop into the harbour? Your Blackberry has become an enemy from whom you dread to hear?
Seriously, do you suffer from any of the following?
- Difficulty getting to sleep or difficulty waking up in the morning
- “Losing it” for little or no reason
- Loss of interest in activities
- Aches and pains for no apparent reason
- Social withdrawal
- Constant fatigue
- Poor appetite
- Increased anxiety and irritability
- Blurred vision
- Increased heart rate
If you have been noticing 3 or more of the above symptoms for a number of weeks in yourself or a colleague, there is a good chance there is a stress issue.
Before you start getting â€œstressedâ€, check with your GP first to make sure it isn!t something else such as depression. If it is stress related and you know it, it!s still worth going and having a natter with your GP because if you are a â€œstress-headâ€ you can tend to have elevated blood pressure. When the pressure really piles up and hits boiling point, at work or at home, â€œStress-headsâ€ are at a higher risk of death by various causes than their more chilled colleagues, partners or family. Long term stress and also lead to the following: heart disease, colitis (inflammation of the bowels), thyroid disorders, and ulcers.
What is stress?
Stress is the reaction people have to excessive demands or pressures. You may find it difficult to cope with tasks, responsibilities or other types of job related pressures or you might get anxious trying to meet such demands. It isn’t just bad for your work, it is also affecting your health.
An alarming 40 million working days are lost each year to stress-related illnesses, costing industries Â£1.5bn a year. Does this affect you?
A 2007 poll of 2,000 employees revealed that 46 per cent of respondents rated their jobs “highly stressful”. Are you or your colleagues in that category
What causes it?
The following can be significant factors in the cause of stress or may amplify the effects of stress:
- Job insecurity
- Poor working environments such as excessive noise, the presence of dangerous materials, over-crowding, poor facilities, or extremities of temperature or humidity
- Increased accessibility – the use of mobile phones, pagers and emails means the boss can always chase up work
- Low pay
- Bad relations with other work colleagues
- Long and/or irregular hours
- Too little work
- Repetitive work/boredom and lack of job satisfaction
- Job or organisational change
- Working alone
- Jobs with heavy emotional demands
If there is bullying, conflict, harassment, or indifference to staff needs – or if the individual has pressures at home – the pressure starts to be amplified severely.
When the Company/Organisation lacks leadership, and if work arrangements are ill defined there can also be lot of uncertainty about purpose, direction and responsibilities amongst staff â€“ adding to even more stress.
Having inflexible deadlines that are arranged without consultation exacerbates the problem even further.
How do I deal with stress for myself, my employees, my company?
If work-related stress is an issue try some of the following ways to calm down and chill out:
- Try to make time for yourself away from work to wind down. For example relaxing in a warm bubble bath, listening to soothing music and shutting out the world for a while.
- Talk to your family and make time to see your mates – it will help you unwind and unburden any problems.
- Learn to say no. If you are asked to take extra work on board, or to stay in the office after your colleagues have left, have the confidence to decline.
- Take breaks at work. Don’t stay glued to the job – take a few minutes to sit back and relax, or take a brisk walk during your break.
- Plan your work. Sit down and establish what needs to be done. If you have an excessive workload, delegate if possible, and decide on when your work needs to be completed.
- If all else fails, have a serious talk with your line manager with you workload, or think about changing your job.
- Take time for your mind and body to relax. Methods can include reading, meditation and yoga.
- Find time to pursue non-work activities such as hobbies and recreational activities.
- Eat well. Skipping meals will deplete your energy and leave you drained.
- Take time to exercise. Regular and frequent exercise is a great stress reducer.
Exercise and Stress
Exercise can help to relieve stress, tension, and anxiety. By expelling your excess negative emotions and adrenaline through physical activity, you can enter a more relaxed, calm state of being â€“ better able to deal with issues and conflicts.
Exercise is one of the most important coping mechanisms for combating anxiety and stress.
Exercise also helps with clarity of thought and decision-making processes.
Exactly how exercise helps in relaxation and stress management is not clear. The benefits of exercise can come from many factors: the decision to take up exercise, the symbolic meaning of the activity, the distraction from worries, the acquisition of mastery over a sport, the effects on self-image, and the biochemical and physiological changes that accompany the activity improved body shape and increased levels of endorphins and seratonin (the happy hormones).
So what can you do?
There are many forms of exercise you can take, just as long as you do it and make it consistent. One easy way is to sign up to a course – where you have to turn up for a set number of weeks. This short-term commitment could be just enough to set you back on the right track. Many of the better employers now run subsidised fitness groups as they see the benefit of looking after their greatest asset â€¦you!
Make time. Make it important. Start now and watch your productivity improve, health flourish and work become more enjoyable as you and your team become sharper, more focused and more decisive.
Show this article to your HR manager!! Your company may be interested in our Peak Performance programs. Lets get the exercise going. Or you can give us a ring for a consultation.