How Can Work Stress Affect Well
Long-term exposure to work-related stressors like these can affect mental health. Research links burnout with symptoms of anxiety and depression. In some cases, this sets the stage for serious mental health problems. Indeed, one study shows younger people who routinely face heavy workloads and extreme time pressure on the job are more likely to experience major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
High levels of stress at work and outside of it can affect physical health, too. Repeated activation of the fight-or-flight response can disrupt bodily systems and increase susceptibility to disease. For example, repeated release of the stress hormone cortisol can disturb the immune system, and raise the likelihood of developing autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimers disease. Chronic stress can also affect health by interfering with healthy behaviors, such as exercise, balanced eating, and sleep.
Work stress can also harm companies or organizations. Burnout reduces job productivity and boosts absenteeism and job turnover, and also leads to conflict between coworkers, causing stress to spread within a workplace.
Tips For Giving The Best Answer
Show the employer how you manage stress. That way, the interviewer can build up a clear picture of how well you adapt to stressful situations. For example, describe a time when you were given a difficult task or multiple assignments and how you rose to the occasion.
Focus on success. When you respond, share examples of how you succeeded despite being in a stressful situation, or of how you problem-solved to resolve the issue that caused stress.
When its a stressful job. Some jobs are stressful by nature. If youre applying for a high-stress job, be sure to let the interviewer know that youre used to working under stress and that its part of your normal routine.
How Cmhps And Work
Work-related stress and mental health often go together. The symptoms of stress and common mental health problems are similar, for example, loss of appetite, fatigue and tearfulness can be symptoms of both.
Work-related stress may trigger an existing mental health problem that the person may otherwise have successfully managed without letting it affect their work.
For people with existing mental health issues, work-related stress may worsen their problem. If work-related stress reaches a point where it has triggered an existing mental health problem, it becomes hard to separate one from the other.
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Develop Techniques That Will Help You To Feel In Control Of Your Life
There is plenty of research that suggests that the single factor that causes most stress is feeling out of control.
One way that you can help yourself to avoid stress is to develop techniques to help you solve problems and make decisions more easily.
For example, one problem-solving technique involves writing down the problem and coming up with as many possible solutions as you can. Decide on the good and bad points of each one and select the best solution. Write down each step that you need to take as part of the solution: what will be done, how will it be done, when will it be done, who is involved and where will it take place.
There is more about this and other techniques in our series of pages on Problem-Solving and Decision-Making.
If You Are Returning To Work After Illness
Most people who have had an illness will recover but there will be a stage during your rehabilitation when you will return to work with some remnant of your ongoing mental health problems. This may mean that you need some support or changes in your role or work to make the return easier. You should talk to your manager and working together try to satisfy your needs.
It is possible that your condition may be one that is subject to the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Order 2006 which may require your employer to make reasonable adjustments to help you get back into work but if you dont talk to your manager and discuss these issues honestly they will be less likely to be able to meet your requirements.
If you are going through a hard time and would like to talk to someone, there are a wide range of organisations that may be of assistance.
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Cause Of The Increasing Stress
Work stress has always been a thing. But why has it become so much worse now?
Lets first understand the causes so its easier for you to implement the resolving tips.
Firstly, theres a panic of the unknown. All of this is new for everyone. Nobody knows whats exactly going, how long it will go on, and what to expect. This alone is taking a toll on everyones mental health.
Since the mind is already preoccupied with this issue, its hard to focus on work. Moreover, the chances of being at risk of infection are also causing a distraction.
The biggest worry for everyone around the world is to stay safe and protect their loved ones. Work tasks are not even among the highest concerns.
Although youre not thinking about it, the stress is building up in the back of your mind. If not today, youll have to tackle all the work tomorrow. Work is piling up while focus and motivation are dropping low.
Its worse for people who have to work from home. The change in environment, additional distractions, and the general aura of bad vibes are affecting productivity.
All of this sounds scary and unmanageable. However, a few efforts in the right direction can fix your productivity, attention, and motivation. Once you tackle these factors, you can reduce the stress that is connected to work.
Ways To Reduce Stress Working From Home And Self
The new reality of self-isolating due to the coronavirus has had quite an impact on the way we work. Many people are now working from home, dealing with the realities of juggling home responsibilities with work responsibilities, and not really having a clear line between the two. This combination of working from home plus self-isolating is the perfect recipe for stress, but there are ways to reduce it.
Step away from what youre doing.
Stepping away from the task youre working on is one of the fastest ways to bring stress levels down. You dont need to spend a large amount of time away from what youre doing, just a few minutes can do the trick. You simply need to shift your focus to something else. Play a quick game on your phone, check social media, or watch 15 minutes of a TV show or movie, then try to get back to work.
Movement is a great antidote to stress, and you should always incorporate short movement breaks into your work day. As little as five minutes of exercise can be enough to reduce feelings of stress and frustration. Walk a few laps around your home, do a 10 minute yoga routine, dance, lift weights, anything really works. The key is just to move. Not only will movement help reduce stress, it helps prevent stiffness, headaches, and eye strain by ensuring you step away from your screen for at least a little bit of time each day.
Change your surroundings.
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Learn To Cope And Take Control
The Canadian Mental Health Association recommends finding balance in your life to keep your stress levels in check. For most of us, thats easier said than done, and what works for one person may not make a difference for someone else.
The best approach is to test different approaches and hold on to the strategies that work while dropping the ones that dont. Here are a few suggestions:
How To Solve Problems
Once you have identified the problems that are leading to stress in your life, this structured problem-solving exercise can help you to find solutions.
This technique has been adapted from Beyond Blue.
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Reframe The Way You Think About Stress
Belmont likens stress to a musical string: too much tension and it snaps too loose, and it remains limp and ineffective.
All too often we think stress is negative and something to be avoided, but we need stress to be successful both personally and professionally, she says. Stress can give us motivation and energy and demonstrates passion is negative and handicaps us only when it is out of our control and seems unmanageable.
What Are The Symptoms Of Stress
Stress can affect all aspects of your life, including your emotions, behaviors, thinking ability, and physical health. No part of the body is immune. But, because people handle stress differently, symptoms of stress can vary. Symptoms can be vague and may be the same as those caused by medical conditions. So it is important to discuss them with your doctor. You may experience any of the following symptoms of stress.
Emotional symptoms of stress include:
- Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
- Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
- Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
- Feeling bad about yourself , lonely, worthless, and depressed
- Avoiding others
Physical symptoms of stress include:
- Low energy
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Listen To Music On The Drive Home
Listening to music offers many benefits and can be an effective way to relieve stress before, during, and after work. Playing an uplifting song while you make breakfast can help you start the day off feeling better prepared to interact with the people in your life. Likewise, combating the stress of a long day with your favorite music on the drive home can help you wind down and feel less stressed when you get there.
Accept The Things You Can’t Change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.
“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”
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Learn To Avoid Procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating.
Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality .
Get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.
Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself.
Prioritize what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.
Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.
While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal to join your body and mind.
Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness.
Some studies have examined yogas effect on mental health. Overall, research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety .
However, many of these studies are limited, and there are still questions about how yoga works to achieve stress reduction.
In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety seems to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response.
What Are Some Strategies To Reduce Stress
It may not be possible to remove the stress from your life, but managing your stress may help you to get things done.
Below are some ideas for managing stress.
- Take charge deal with unhelpful sources of stress before they build up and become a bigger problem.
- Make choices look at areas in your life where you could manage your situation better or change the way you respond.
- If youre already feeling stressed, consider postponing major changes like changing jobs or moving house.
- Sort out any personal conflicts or relationship problems by communicating honestly and seeking counselling.
- Spend time doing things you enjoy.
- Try to avoid long hours at work. Learn to say no.
- Try to avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine.
A psychologist or counsellor can help you with techniques to manage your time and cope with lifes problems.
If youre feeling stressed, its a good idea to have a general health check with your doctor. You can talk to your doctor about ways to help you bounce back and cope with stress.
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Do Employers Have To Do Anything About Stress Outside Work
You don’t have to, but it’s good if you do. If you think about people’s personal lives and outside stressors, you will be able to anticipate stressful times.
Your employee is not obliged to tell you their personal problems, but there are some practical things you could do to support them:
- be sympathetic and proactive – arrange a confidential meeting with the person, allowing them the opportunity to discuss any problems they wish and allowing you time to voice your own concerns, it may help to clarify whether the persons problems are work related or personal
- be flexible – consider offering the person more flexible working hours, or even offer them some paid time off to deal with their problems
- offer outside support – if appropriate, you could suggest they visit their doctor and allow them time off to do so, you could also suggest support groups
- outline the support and services your organisation offers- for example, your organisation may have a worklife balance initiative in place, these are benefits, policies, or programmes that help balance out job demands and a healthy life outside work, they can include, childcare services, flexible working arrangements, family leave policies, employee assistance programmes and fitness programmes
Programmes of this kind can work effectively to:
- retain staff
- reduce sickness absence and stress
- increase productivity and commitment
How To Handle Stress At Work
- Luana Marques, PhD, Contributor
If youre currently working, you probably know what it feels like to be stressed on the job. A must-do project arrives without warning. Three emails stack up for each one you delete. Phones ring, meetings are scheduled, a coworker drops the ball on a shared assignment.
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Identify Your Personal Stress Triggers
We all have particular situations or people that make us more stressed. Some of these are easily identifiable and may be avoidable. However, sometimes stress may build up over time, and result from a pattern of incidents or events, rather than a single trigger.
It may therefore be helpful to use a tool like our quiz Whats Stressing You Out? or keep a stress diary for a few weeks to help you identify what makes you stressed.
This will make it easier to take action to address your stress levels.
Identify Sources Of Stress
Before you can start dealing with stress you need to know what causes the stress. Some sources of stress are obvious whereas others may be more difficult to find. A demanding boss is easy to recognize as a source of stress, but your parents expectations of you may cause you to stress as well without knowing it. In both cases, you may feel irritated, worried and pressured. And because you are irritated, pressured and worried you may make mistakes at work or become more forgetful. This may cause more stress and eventually you are caught in a vicious circle.By identifying your true sources of stress you can start dealing with stress. There are roughly 2 different types of stressors: acute stressors and chronic stressors. Acute stressors come up quickly and last only a short while, they are often unpredictable and leave us with a poor sense of control. Chronic stressors last longer and usually come up slowly. Chronic stress is stress resulted from repeated exposure to situations that lead to the release of stress hormones.
Common fears you may have.
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Go On A Cleaning Binge
Giving the inside of your pantry a good wipe-down or really getting into the sofa cushions with a vacuum attachment has multiple stress reducing benefits on top of fewer visits from icky vermin: its a project that requires a little planning, but some physical activityboth of which Kissen says can reduce stressand is likely to result in a sense of achievement that lifts your mood. And working mindfully at it can reduce stress even more: one study found that folks who were told to stay gently focused on what they were doing while washing dishes boosted their effect
Build Strong Positive Relationships With People Who Make You Feel Goodand Avoid Those Who Dont
Research suggests that stress builds up over time, through multiple small interactions with others. By themselves, few single incidents are intrinsically stressful. However, put them together, and the story is very different.
It is hard to avoid these micro-stressors, because they are too frequent and too pervasive. However, there are ways to address them, and the most important is to focus on your relationships with others. Research suggests that the two most important things you can do are to build strong relationships and connections with people who make you feel good, and avoid those who dont.
There is more about this in our page on Micro-Stressors.
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