I’m sure you must be familiar with the word ‘stress.’ Essentially, stress is our body’s response to the mental pressure we face daily. But today, let’s shed some light on work-related stress.
Having a job is considered to improve one’s life and living standard. But sometimes, it can cause work-related stress resulting in declining mental health.
The United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health defines stress at work as adverse emotional and physical responses that happen when the demands of the job don’t meet the abilities or resources of the employee. Therefore, stress at work can result in poor health and degraded mental health.
You can experience work-related stress even when you love what you do. If we talk about the short term, you might feel stressed about meeting a deadline or an obligation. And when this stress from work becomes chronic, it can become overwhelming and detrimental to mental and physical well-being.
Top Reasons For Work Stress
So, let’s discuss some common reasons for work stress are:
- Everlasting Workload
- Lack of appreciation
- Low salaries
- No growth opportunities
- Unclear performance KPIs
Each of these is a significant reason for employees’ high levels of work-related stress, which they have no control over. However, these may sound outdated to some, given the current shift in job trends, but these reasons are expanding daily.
Some employers offer low salaries and burden the employee with drudgery tasks. This leads to an unsatisfied employee who relentlessly goes through the phase of disappointment.
How Does Work Related Stress Effect
Workplace stressors are classified into psychosocial and physical. Physical stressors include noise, lighting issues, poor office or work layout, and ergonomic issues, including poor work postures.
Psychological stressors can be, in my opinion, the most prevalent stressors. They can be attributed to high demands for work and inflexible work hours, ineffective job management, poor workplace design and structure, harassment, bullying, and job security issues.
Stress in the workplace doesn’t only affect workers but can have a negative impact on business performance. The consequences of work-related stress can be seen in the worker’s physical and mental health and behaviour.
These effects are experienced in the form of a continuum that begins as anxiety in response to stressors. Stress, in turn, causes an increase in levels of blood pressure and anxiety, which can increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease, addiction to substances, and anxiety disorders.
The effects of stress on cardiovascular diseases have been proven to be true. Research has shown that stress from work is a significant risk factor for the onset of cardiovascular disease (obesity and excessive blood cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and adverse cardiovascular events, including stroke and heart attack.
A growing body of evidence suggests that stress at work can increase the chance of developing diabetes. Other health issues related to stress at work include immune deficiency diseases and musculoskeletal problems, such as chronic back pain and digestive disorders like IBS.
Stress Affecting Mental Wellbeing
Stress at work also has negative consequences for workers’ health and mental wellbeing, including the risk of increased depression, burnout and anxiety and addiction disorders. People under stress at their workplace are likely to adopt unhealthy behaviour, including smoking cigarettes or alcohol consumption and unhealthy eating habits.
In addition to the health consequences, stress at work reduces productivity, raises absenteeism, and presenteeism raises the amount of time taken off work to visit the doctor and raises healthcare costs for employers. Stress at work is also related to higher injury rates, accident rates, higher turnover, and raised administrative costs.
How To Manage Work Related Stress
Now that we have identified the sources of work-related stress and discussed it physically and mentally, you should now know how to manage it.
Keep Track Of The Stressors In Your Life
Keep a journal for a couple of weeks to determine which situations cause the most anxiety and how you react to these situations. Note your thoughts, emotions and details about your surroundings, including the people involved and their circumstances and the physical environment and how you responded. Did you raise your voice? Take a bite in the vending machines? Walk around? Noting down your thoughts will help you identify patterns in your stressors and your responses to them.
Create A Healthier Response
Instead of attempting to manage stress through alcohol or fast food, Try to choose healthy options when you begin to feel the tension rising. Exercise can be a great way to relieve stress. Yoga is a great option, but physical exercise can be beneficial. Make time for interests and activities you enjoy. It doesn’t matter if it’s reading a novel or attending a concert and playing with friends or loved ones ensure that you make time for things that give you joy. Sleeping well is crucial to managing stress effectively. Develop healthy sleeping habits by limiting your caffeine intake during the day and limiting your time spent on stimulating activities, like TV and computer usage in the evening.
In today’s digital world, it’s easy to feel the pressure to be online 24/7. Set some boundaries around work and life for you. It could be an obligation not to check email while at your home at night or not to answer your phone while eating dinner. While everyone has their preference when it comes to the extent to which they mix their personal and professional lives, establishing distinct boundaries between them will help reduce the possibility of conflicts between work and home life and the stress that comes with it.
Take Some Time Off To Recharge
To avoid the negative consequences of stress and burnout, we require the time to replenish and get back to the pre-stress state of functioning. This recuperation process involves “switching off” from work by having times in which you’re not engaging in work-related activities or considering work. This is why it’s crucial to switch off according to your personal preferences and requirements. Don’t let your vacation time get wasted. If you can, take some time to unwind and relax so that you return to work feeling refreshed and at your top performance. If you’re unable to leave to recharge, you can do it by shutting down your mobile and focusing on non-work activities for a short period of time.
Learn To Unwind
Techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises and mindfulness can help you reduce stress. Begin by taking just some time each day to concentrate on a single activity, such as breathing in, walking, or taking in meals. The ability to focus on a single task with no distractions will improve with time, and you’ll discover you can apply it to all aspects of your daily life.
Discuss Your Concerns With Your Boss
Employee health is associated with efficiency at work. Therefore, your boss is motivated to create an environment that encourages the well-being of employees. Begin by having an open discussion with your boss. This isn’t to write down the list of your complaints. However, it’s to develop an effective strategy for dealing with the stressors you’ve identified so that you can perform optimally when you’re on the job.
Find Some Help
Accepting help from trusted family and friends will help you manage stress. Your employer might also offer stress management tools available via an assistance plan for employees. This includes online information, counselling and referrals to mental health experts in the event of need. If you are still feeling overwhelmed by stress at work, speak with psychologists to help you manage stress and modify your unhealthy behaviour.