Risk Factors For Work
There are three areas to consider when you assess your workplace for potential risk of stress. These are:
- having little control over your work
- unsupportive supervisors and co-workers
- poorly managed organisational or work procedure change
- low levels of recognition and reward
- organisational injustice.
Take Care Of Yourself
Setting aside time for self-care is a must if you regularly find yourself feeling overwhelmed by work. This means prioritizing sleep, setting aside time for fun, and making sure youre eating throughout the day.
Feel like you dont have the time? Keep in mind that youll likely be able to tackle work issues more effectively when your core needs are being met.
Address Conflict Without Adding To It
Conflicts are going to happen at any job â whether itâs between coworkers or managers, itâs inevitable. What you do with that conflict, though, determines if itâll be a stress point or not.
- Donât let conflict continue. Ifthereâs a fight between employees, or you are an employee and are butting heads with someone else, it needs to be addressed. Use conflict management solutions outlined in the employee handbook. Ignoring conflict doesnât make it go away. It makes it get bigger.
- Avoid punitive responses. Punishment, instead of reward, creates fear, which creates stress. Resolve conflicts and problems positively, and not through negative reinforcement.
Recommended Reading: How To Lose Stress Weight
Time Management Tips For Reducing Job Stress
Create a balanced schedule. All work and no play is a recipe for burnout. Try to find a balance between work and family life, social activities and solitary pursuits, daily responsibilities and downtime.
Leave earlier in the morning. Even 10-15 minutes can make the difference between frantically rushing and having time to ease into your day. If youre always running late, set your clocks and watches fast to give yourself extra time and decrease your stress levels.
Plan regular breaks. Make sure to take short breaks throughout the day to take a walk, chat with a friendly face, or practice a relaxation technique. Also try to get away from your desk or work station for lunch. It will help you relax and recharge and be more, not less, productive.
Establish healthy boundaries. Many of us feel pressured to be available 24 hours a day or obliged to keep checking our smartphones for work-related messages and updates. But its important to maintain periods where youre not working or thinking about work. That may mean not checking emails or taking work calls at home in the evening or at weekends.
Dont over-commit yourself. Avoid scheduling things back-to-back or trying to fit too much into one day. If youve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the shoulds and the musts. Drop tasks that arent truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.
Physical And Mental Consequences
Prolonged activation of the stress response can affect the body in both its physical and mental health. When it slips out of balance, it can turn into chronic anxiety and, in the worst case, lead to suicidal thoughts.
Anxiety is a normal emotion that can appear from time to time when facing a problem, a test, or before having to make an important decision. When the stress level is high, anxiety disorders may appear, which are included in the group of mental illnesses. They prevent the person from leading a normal life.
Anxiety disorders can be manifested as panic attacks when you feel you are about to die social phobia, when you feel overwhelmed by everyday social situations other phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder, when the person has exaggerated worry and tension for no apparent reason.
In addition to the mental effects, the activation of the fight-or-flight mode involves chemical changes in the body, which can alter the persons metabolism. This can cause long-term effects, leading to diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure. Chronic stress can also cause other problems such as arthritis and inflammatory diseases.
The WHO has warned of the high levels of concern and unhappiness in todays world that are causing an epidemic of stress. Stress has become part of peoples daily lives, affecting productivity and causing health problems, which at first may remain silent, but then they get worse.
Also Check: What God Says About Stress
Cut Out Things That Add To Your Stress
Sometimes, the best way to reduce your stress is to cut something out of your life. Get rid of the things that are adding to your stress so you can experience more peace.
Watching the news, being constantly connected to your digital devices, drinking alcohol, and consuming too much caffeine are just a few of the things that may add more stress to your life. Making some changes to your daily habits could be instrumental in helping you feel better.
What Are Your Employers Responsibilities If You Are Suffering With Work Related Stress
Your employer has the following main legal duties:
- to identify significant and foreseeable risks to your health
- to prevent harm to your health that is foreseeable and caused by work
- to consider any disability you have , that has a substantial or long-term effect on your ability to work.
Your employer needs to be proactive in considering what factors could cause ill-health or make existing health conditions even worse. They should be taking reasonable steps to identify the risks and identify possible sources of stress that could foreseeably cause you health issues.
Your employer is, however, entitled to expect that you can cope with the normal pressures of the role, unless they are specifically aware of a particular issue. In terms of whether harm is foreseeable, this will depend mainly on the following
- is the workload more than is normal for the role?
- are the demands on you higher than compared to others doing similar work?
- are there signs that you are suffering from stress (for example, in your pattern of behaviour or where there is repeated time off work for sickness?
- could your health issues be classified as a disability? This would be a physical or mental impairment that has a long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out day to day activities.
You May Like: How To Overcome Stress At Work
How To Avoid Homework Stress
Here are 10 tips to help your child learn how to make homework less stressful.
Start Your Day Off Right
After scrambling to get the kids fed and off to school, dodging traffic and combating road rage, and gulping down coffee in lieu of a healthy breakfast, many people arrive to work already stressed. This makes them more reactive to stress in the workplace.
You might be surprised by how affected by workplace stress you are when you have a stressful morning. When you start off the day with planning, good nutrition, and a positive attitude, you might find that the stress of your job rolls off your back more easily.
You May Like: What Bible Verse Helps With Stress
Tip : Dont Skimp On Sleep
You may feel like you just dont have the time get a full nights sleep. But skimping on sleep interferes with your daytime productivity, creativity, problem-solving skills, and ability to focus. The better rested you are, the better equipped youll be to tackle your job responsibilities and cope with workplace stress.
Improve the quality of your sleep by making healthy changes to your daytime and nightly routines. For example, go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, be smart about what you eat and drink during the day, and make adjustments to your sleep environment. Aim for 8 hours a nightthe amount of sleep most adults need to operate at their best.
Turn off screens one hour before bedtime. The light emitted from TV, tablets, smartphones, and computers suppresses your bodys production of melatonin and can severely disrupt your sleep.
Avoid stimulating activity and stressful situations before bedtime such as catching up on work. Instead, focus on quiet, soothing activities, such as reading or listening to soft music, while keeping lights low.
Stress and shift work
Working night, early morning, or rotating shifts can impact your sleep quality, which in turn may affect productivity and performance, leaving you more vulnerable to stress.
Factors That Affect Anger And Stress
Prolonged exposure to anger and stress can take a toll on our physical health. It can raise our blood pressure which instigates other issues that affect us physically and emotionally. It can negatively impact our relationships as well. Beyond that, we can also develop negative habits as a response to excessive levels of anger and stress that become more difficult to control over time. Either of these effects can result in more anxiety.
In order to begin managing the adverse effects of stress and anger, we need to look at how these emotions impact our lives. Stress can lead to anger which can lead to even more stress. Neither feeling is healthy, but we shouldn’t try to eliminate them. Instead, we should attempt to control them by understanding factors that affect anger and stress and coping strategies for better management.
Recommended Reading: How To Relieve Stress At Home
Rely On A Strong Support Network
Keep in touch with trusted friends and family members to help cope with stressful work situations.
If youre struggling with an especially challenging work week, try asking parent friends if they can help out with carpooling your kids to school on certain days.
Having people you can rely on during the tough times can alleviate some of the built-up tension.
Stress Can Often Be Caused By Having Too Much Work And Not Enough Time To Do It Proper Planning Can Help In Using Your Time Efficiently
Stress can often be caused by having too much work and not enough time to do it. Proper planning can help in using your time efficiently. Plan out your day, week and month. Prioritise the work you have, and manage the expectations of others. Dont promise to deliver everything straight away give people reasonable expectations of how long tasks will take and when you will get it to them .
Factor a lunch break in to your plans, and aim to leave work around the same time each day you wont operate at your best if you are over tired and overworked! Before you leave, write a list of what you need to carry over to the next day, to avoid thinking about it at home.
Its also important not to suffer in silence. If you feel you can, then let your manager know about your concerns be it too much work, or others on the team not pulling their weight. Make sure you are ready to suggest some solutions that you think might help. It may also help to talk to a counsellor about ways to manage your stress.
You May Like: What’s The Best Medicine For Stress
Prepare Ahead Of Time As Much As Possible
The most stressful time of the day for workers is the morning, or when they start their shift.
You canât always prepare everything ahead of time. If someone leaves a mess when you arrive for your shift, thereâs not much you can do about it other than try to work with them and get them to do better.
But, wherever possible, prep ahead of time. Think of it like this: how you start your work day sets the tone for the rest of it. If you start it in a panic, a rush, the whole day is going to be stressful. Itâll feel as if you never get caught up or on good footing.
Preparing ahead of time might be:
- Setting up tools or products that youâll need to use.
- Mentally considering challenges youâll face and how youâll diffuse them.
- Exercising, or physically preparing yourself for the work you need to do to avoid physical injury or tiredness.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Work Related Stress
Often, people dont recognise the symptoms of work related stress and instead adopt a coping mechanism, putting it down to just being extra busy and telling themselves that they should be able to cope. People can also convince themselves that its just for a short while until things get better, but more often than not this is not the case. Work related stress can manifest itself into various symptoms which can include:
- Consuming too much caffeine or alcohol
- Low productivity accompanied by feelings of low achievement
- Regular absence and a higher sickness rate
- Being accident-prone
- Regular or lingering colds
You May Like: How Do You Feel When Stressed
What Can Employers Do To Address Stress In Their Workplace
There are many strategies that can help control stress and reduce its impact to a person or in the workplace. Since the causes of workplace stress vary greatly, so do the strategies to reduce or prevent it.
Where stress in the workplace is caused, for example, by a physical agent, it is best to control it at its source. If the workplace is too loud, control measures to deal with the noise should be implemented where ever possible. If you are experiencing pain from repetitive strain, workstations can be re-designed to reduce repetitive and strenuous movements. More detailed information and suggestions are located in the many other documents in OSH Answers or by asking the Inquiries Service.
Job design is also an important factor. Good job design accommodates an employee’s mental and physical abilities. In general, the following job design guidelines will help minimize or control workplace stress:
- the job should be reasonably demanding and provide the employee with at least a minimum of variety in job tasks
- the employee should be able to learn on the job and be allowed to continue to learn as their career progresses
- the job should comprise some area of decision-making that the individual can call his or her own.
- there should be some degree of social support and recognition in the workplace
- the employee should feel that the job leads to some sort of desirable future
Employers should assess the workplace for the risk of stress. Look for:
How Can I Get Help
The key is to recognise that you are suffering with work related stress and seek help. Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling and then, if possible, talk to your organisation’s occupational therapy or HR teams who will be experienced in helping.
If you feel unable to speak to your organisation, there are ways to get private and confidential support. Priory Group has a nationwide network of sites providing 24-hour support 7 days a week. Our expert consultants, psychologists and therapists can provide support outside of normal working hours in a tailored package of care that suits your individual needs. All treatment is provided in the strictest privacy.
You May Like: What Are Signs Of Post Traumatic Stress
Referral To Occupational Health
Occupational Health can advise on supportive measures which may help resolve difficulties with stress.
A referral to Occupational Health should always be considered, but may not always be necessary. Your HR Adviser and if necessary the Occupational Health Adviser may be able to assist with such decisions.
It is advisable that a referral to Occupational Health is made in the following circumstances:
- When the management relationship with the person has become difficult or broken down
- When the person is reporting as sick, particularly if the person has already been off work due to stress for two weeks or more
- Where there are other underlying health problems which may require additional consideration and support eg anxiety and depression which may have been triggered or exacerbated by stress.
Further information, including referral documentation, is available from Occupational Health.
How Does Your Body React To Work Stress
Imagine for a moment that your boss has emailed you about an unfinished assignment . Your body and mind instantly respond, activating a physical reaction called the fight-or-flight response. Your heart beats faster, your breath quickens, and your muscles tense. At the same time you might say to yourself, Im going to get fired if I dont finish this. Then to manage your anxiety and negative self-talk, you work late into the night to complete the task.
Over the course of our evolutionary history, humans developed this coordinated fear response to protect against dangers in our environment. For example, a faster heart rate and tense muscles would help us escape from predators. In the modern era, fear continues to serve an important function. After all, the fight-or-flight response can provide the necessary energy to pull an all-nighter and keep your job.
But what happens if you encounter stressful experiences at work every day? Over time, chronic work stress can lead to a psychological syndrome known as burnout. Warning signs of burnout are overwhelming exhaustion, cynicism, and a sense of inefficacy. Certain work-related stressors are closely linked with burnout. Examples are having too much work or too little independence, inadequate pay, lack of community between coworkers, unfairness or disrespect, and a mismatch between workplace and personal values.
Also Check: How Can You Tell If Your Stressed