Stressed at work?
‘the adverse reaction a person has to excessive pressure or other types of demands placed upon them’. This makes a distinction between ‘pressure’, which can be a positive state if managed correctly, and ‘stress’ which can be detrimental to health.
Put simply, when we have lots of demands with a perception of little control, we end up experiencing stress. And the not so good news is that stress levels in the workplace seem to have been steadily increasing over the past few years. Contrary to what some would believe, it is not so much the occupation, according to the American Institute of Stress, as the person-environment fit that matters.
So how do you know if you are you stressed?
Here is a list of cognitive and emotional signs of stress from Psych Central:
- mental slowness, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
- difficulty thinking in a logical sequence, mind racing at times
- general negative attitudes or thoughts and constant worry
- the sense that life is overwhelming; a sense of helplessness and a sense that you can’t problem-solve
- irritation and little or no sense of humour
- jumpiness, over-excitability
- feeling overworked, overwhelmed and frustrated
Stress is not good for us. It impacts our performance at work and often has negative influences on our working relationships. The more stressed we feel, the less likely we are able to deal with that stress, and we can end up in a vicious cycle. Unmanaged, this can lead to more serious problems. Much is reported on the relationship between stress and health problems including heart disease, elevated blood pressure, suppression of the immune system and depression.
As HR practitioners, we should be concerned about elevated stress levels in our workplaces, both in our own teams and across the workforce too.
Here are a few tips for managing your stress levels from Forbes (informed by 10 years of Harvard research and field-tested by more than 6,000 clients and trainees):
- Act rather than react
- Breathe deeply
- Schedule your day for energy and focus
- Eat well and sleep well
- Cool down quickly
- Change your story
- Influence others
- Identify self-imposed stress
- Reset the panic button
- Prioritise your priorities.
You can read the full article here.
What are you doing to manage your stress at work?