Work Related Stress (WRS)
Are you feeling burnout in work? Are you feeling fed up or exhausted when it comes to work? Are you finding it hard to switch off from work? Are work related issues seeping into your personal life? Are you finding it hard to find an appropriate balance? Then read on…
What is Stress?
Stress is a negative state, which can involve, varying degrees of anxiety, fear and agitation. All areas of life can cause stress but driving for instance, is often cited as being stressful due to traffic, bad weather and speed restrictions all playing a part in making a driver stressed. Stress mainly comes from personal issues such as loss or threat of loss, fear over money problems, family traumas and/or bereavement. The sources of such pressure or demand are called stressors which seem to all come about at the same time, so we are overpowered in our ability to handle them, to process them and overcome them.
How Does this Relate to Work?
Work-related stress (WRS) is the conditions, practices and events at work which may give rise to stress. Work-related stress is caused or made worse by work. There are positive and negative types of stress. Positive stress gives a sense of challenge and excitement. Negative stress causes worry, anxiety and agitation.
Symptoms of stress:
Stress has many signs and symptoms including, but not limited to;
– mental – how the mind works i.e. finding it hard to concentrate
– behavioural – the things we do i.e. finding it hard to sleep
– physical – how the body works i.e. headaches
– cognitive and emotional – how we think and concentrate i.e. irritable or angry
Work-related stress is stress caused by or made worse by work. Sometimes it is easy to pinpoint the cause of stress, a lot of very tight deadlines and scarcity of equipment to do the job properly, however, other work-related stress is less easy to define and categorise.
When stressed, people are not always accurate in diagnosing where their stress is coming from and whether it is from work or not. Someone feeling very threatened in a relationship can for instance, feel stressed during the working day. The cause of the stress, however, is not the work, but it gets associated with work because it affects the person while at work, it affects their colleagues, the relationships they enjoy at work and how they do their job.
So, stress involves many aspects of working life; productivity, health and safety, relationships, work-life balance, attendance and workplace satisfaction. It is not simply a matter of associating the stress felt with a time and/or place. It is important to accept that most causes of stress are in our personal lives. However, there are aspects of the work environment which are more likely to lead to stress than others, and there are ways of reacting to these which are more positive than others.
Research into WRS tells us that job resources such as a reasonable degree of autonomy, positive team climate and effective coaching can support people and buffer the effects of stressful situations by assisting them access their own personal resources, increasing self-esteem and self-confidence around work issues.
The first signs that indicate you may be suffering from excessive pressure or stress are changes in behaviour or performance. The kinds of change that may occur are;
- Work performance i.e. declining/inconsistent performance, uncharacteristic errors, loss of motivation/commitment or increased time at work.
- Conflict and emotional signs i.e. crying, arguments. undue sensitivity, irritability/moodiness, over-reaction to problems or personality clashes.
- Withdrawal i.e. arriving late to work, leaving early, absenteeism or reduced social contacts.
- Aggressive behaviour i.e. malicious gossip, criticism of others, bullying or harassment or temper outbursts.
- Other behaviours i.e. difficulty relaxing, increased consumption of alcohol, increased smoking, lack of interest in appearance/hygiene or accidents at home or work.
How to feel less stressed at work:
The little things we do every day come together to make up our lives, so we need to be wise and careful with how we spend our everyday moments. Pinpoint stressors, communicate your needs openly, understand your worth, and feel less stressed at work.
- Pinpoint stressors and actively avoid them: Gathering the self-awareness needed to determine exactly what’s draining you is the first step. Small stressors add up, but small solutions meet them with equivalent relief. What seems minor can come together to create an all-encompassing impact.
- Communicate your needs openly: Everyone’s unique, and therefore requires different working conditions to thrive. It’s okay to map out your boundaries and ask others to respect them. Being direct and transparent will only benefit you. Remember, nobody can read your mind!
- Understand your worth: Your worth is not equivalent to the speed at which you accomplish tasks or your productivity. The value you bring to your job cannot be calculated by numbers, minutes, or money signs. Know your worth and don’t let anyone or anything tell you otherwise.
- Give yourself what you need to feel good: The human mind is capable of so many amazing things, but only if you give it sustenance. Never underestimate the power of adequate sleep, water, and nutrition.
What do you need throughout the day to feel good? Give it to yourself. Be generous and loving with your mind and body. You will feel less stressed at work as a result, it will follow naturally.
EASIER SAID THAN DONE RIGHT??
AWARENESS IS THE FIRST STEP….
If you would like to learn more then have a look at this TED Talk by Rob Cooke – “The cost of work stress and how to reduce it”.
If you feel that some/all of the symptoms or behaviours mentioned above relate to you – reach out, before you burn out.