If you’re reading this article, it’s not too late. You’ve probably experienced, or know someone suffering from stress at work.
I’m guessing you can relate to ticking off a to-do, to suddenly find two others fill its place. Or logging in to your emails and praying for a power-cut. Maybe your boss calls you into the office, and your first thought is ‘what have I done wrong?’
All of this is taking a mental, emotional and physical toll on your mind and body that should not be swept under the rug.
- 6 in 10 employees experience workplace stress.
- A survey of 3,000, found that work was the biggest cause of employee stress, ahead of family pressures and money worries.
- 45% of UK workers say that there is nothing in place to help reduce employee stress levels or better their mental health.
What is Stress?
Stressor → body & mind respond → fight-or-flight → increased heartbeat, tight muscles and quick breath
This may not be detrimental as a one-off incident, however repeating this day in and day out can lead to burnout. Burnout is a state of exhaustion caused by excessive or prolonged stress.
How Stress Affects Physical Health:
- If the fight-or-flight response is activated on a continual basis, it can interfere with bodily systems which can increase vulnerability to disease.
- Chronic stress can impact upon healthy behaviours you might usually include in your daily routine such as exercise, healthy eating, and sufficient sleep.
How to Manage Stress:
- Relaxation– I know, easier said than done, right? However, there are effective strategies you can implement into your life which can counter the physiological effects of the fight-or-flight response. Simply sitting down for a minute with your eyes closed and thinking about relaxation can help.
- Problem-solve– This gives you a step-by-step guide to facing a challenge…
- Identify the problem
- Come up with a list of potential solutions
- Rank the solutions from best to worst
- Create a plan-of-action!
- Try out the best-ranked solution
- Turn a negative into a positive– You may or may not recognise this pattern…
Chronic stress → a mental filter → you interpret situations negatively, with little or no reason → you doubt your ability to cope under perceived stressors
You need to learn to treat these doubtful statements such as ‘I can’t complete my work by that time’, as one of many possibilities. Consider others that might accompany it such as ‘I could get this done by tomorrow.’ This can decrease the negative emotions you experience in response to stressors.
- Mindfulness– Your mind is probably painting a pretty picture of a person meditating under a tree. That is not the only way to practise mindfulness. What it really encourages you to do, is to pay attention to the present moment. Stressors tend to revolve around worries about the future, or over-analyzing past actions and decisions. You can focus on being present formally, such as meditation, or informally, such as going for a walk.
As you can see, workplace stress can become a serious problem for employees, and many organisations are not equipped to handle it. Many leaders lack the skill set to encourage those suffering to come forward, whilst there are little or no procedures and services in place to support vulnerable individuals.
If you can relate to this, why not join me for a complimentary 30-minute consultation where I can show you practical tools and skills to help you reduce stress, build resilience for you and your teams and promote a healthy workplace culture. I look forward to hearing from you.