Stress Awareness In The Workplace
Stress at work is inevitable. Every single person who has ever held a job, at some point, has felt the pressure of work-related stress. It doesn’t matter that you love what you do, any job can have it’s stressful factors.
What Is Stress?
Let’s get down to the basics. Stress, what is it? We all think we know what stress is, but do we really? Generally, when people think of stress they most likely end up on the idea that it is when you become overwhelmed with a situation. Which, technically isn’t wrong, but there is way more to stress than just a situational issue. According to Cleveland Clinic, “the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response”. This means, stress can come from changes made either physically, mentally or emotionally.
According to Apa.org, work stress can come from a multitude of things like, low salaries, excessive workloads, few opportunities for growth or advancement, work that isn’t engaging or challenging and or the lack of social support.
In a study of the trends for stress, conducted by the APA, they ranked from highest to lowest, the leading causes of work related stress for each generational group.
For every generational study conducted, each had “work” ranked as high as 70% to 80% for their yearly representation of stress. Yikes, I’m biting my nails already.
How You Can Spot The Signs.
It seems like we are always asking the world to show us a sign of something, well I think it’s time we started focusing on the signs we are showing ourselves. AKA, signs of stress. A lot of the times signs of stress can be easily spotted. You may physically see the signs by feeling or looking overwhelmed, tired, or even sick. Though, spotting the signs can sometimes be a tricky task. As we know, when you are in distress, it can actually disturb the body’s internal balance or your equilibrium. This can lead to a multitude of symptoms that you may not typically associate with your stress. Examples include, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, depression, anxiety attacks and problems sleeping. These symptoms we often write off as issues we may already have internally, maybe some food that didn’t settle well with us or we may not even acknowledge them at all.
Here is a list of common symptoms that you may not have connected to your distress.
Dizziness or a general feeling of “being out of it.”
General aches and pains.
Increase in or loss of appetite.
Muscle tension in neck, face or shoulders.
Cold and sweaty palms.
How To Track Stress From Work.
Understanding your symptoms is the first step in reliving your stress. Now that you are more aware of how you are feeling and the toll it is taking on your mind body and soul, you can begin the healing process. Taking these symptoms into work, the best way to begin your stress relief is to try and answer the 5 W’s. Who, what, where, when, and why you’re in distress.
Who is causing you stress?
What is causing your stress?
Where is the stress coming from?
When is the stress coming on?
Why do you think these things / people / situations are causing you distress?
Take some time to track these questions in your everyday work-life with journaling. During your times of stress, write down your thoughts, how you were feeling in the moment, your environment.
If you can find the answers to these questions as you go about your tracking, you are bound to narrow down the cause. Once you find your answers, if you are unable to find a solution or are uncomfortable handling the issues at hand, escalate these issues to someone* in your place of work that can offer you a safe space.
Finding A Solution To Your Stress.
If you are able to identify your stressors, and you feel comfortable tacking them head on, then it’s time to proactively find solutions. Research done by Apa on how to manage your stress, recommends these as your best solutions.
Develop healthy response to stress. – This means you stay away from excessive binging of foods, alcohols, purchases, etc.
Establish boundaries from the stressors. – Identify how you can separate your self from the stress or how to avoid it in the future if possible.
Take time to recharge. – Step way from the issue at hand or situation that has triggered your distress.
Learn how to relax. – Similar to step 3, learn how to relax. Shut down your stress for a moment by stepping away or doing some deep breathing exercises.
Seek an ally. – Ask for help from a friend, co-worker, manager, boss, or a mental health specialist. Someone* who you feel will give you a safe space to ask for help.
Take what you know, and instead of spiraling into despair from your stress, you can take control over how you will react. What you should take way from this is really the understanding and acceptance that stress is normal, even more especially at work. Just know that you are not alone, and that there are guides in place to help you flourish. It’s just up to you to heed your own warning signs. *These kind of people are usually those who work in your companies HR department, where they are equipped to handle these kinds of situations.