Managing Stress In The Workplace

Stress in the workplace

It is likely to be impossible to find someone who has not experienced stress at least once in their life. This is even truer with the fast paced society we live in where results are often expected immediately, often due to the always ‘on’ culture we now have.

As such, it is perhaps unsurprising that people here in Britain are suffering under what is termed a stress epidemic according to a survey by AXA. The research saw 4,000 UK adults surveyed as part of AXA’s Stress Index.

82% of Britons in the study admitted that they felt stressed at least some times during a typical week.  While this high figure feels stressed occasionally in the week, for 8% of those surveyed they felt stressed all of the time.

What Are The Reasons For Stress?

There is no one definitive reason why someone will experience stress as every person is different. Some may cope remarkably well with workplace pressures whereas someone else will find themselves crumbling under the stress of it. That same person may cope with health issues while the other falters.

For the workplace, one of the main reasons for stress is due to never actually switching off from work. 58% of Brits admitted in AXA’s survey to taking calls outside of their own working hours with a further 55% admitting to checking their emails.

People may often feel that they are required to respond to work related issues outside of their normal working hours, but this should only be the case if your contract explicitly states it. A gender divide is also present when discussing the reasons for stress, with 41% of men stating that they are stressed by their work compared with 43% of women stating that their personal finances is their main stressor.

Unsurprisingly, the workplace is not the only reason for stress with 41% of women also reporting stress about the health of family and friends and 32% of men worried about their personal finances.

Can Potentially Lead To A Burnout

This is particularly worrying as stressors can build up can potentially lead to a burnout, which can affect both work and home life. According to the NHS, symptoms of stress include emotional reactions such as feeling overwhelmed, irritable and anxious. There are also mental symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, constant worrying and racing thoughts and finally physical symptoms such as sleep problems, change in appetite, headaches and much more.

Behaviours can also change with people engaging in drinking or smoking more to try and cope along with potentially snapping at people. As the mental health charity Mind also notes, stress can also make existing problems worse, feeding into anxiety and depression that may already be present.

A burnout will be different for every person; some people may reach their breaking point sooner whereas others can hold out for years before realising. The outcome is often similar however, particularly when it comes to the workplace. People end up leaving their jobs because they simply cannot cope with it anymore; while this may seem extreme it can often be a positive aspect for people.

By removing the thing in their lives that it causing them unhappiness, it can pave the way for recovery and allow people to reduce their levels of stress and enjoy both their work and life again. A Guardian article notes that people who approach a burnout often become self-destructive or simply end up with no motivation in their workplace, though there are plenty of other symptoms.

How Can People Try To Cope With Stress?

For many people, the stress they experience can likely be resolved by simply taking time for themselves. This can include reading at home, watching films or television shows, spending time with family and friends or even taking a few days off from work to engage in a hobby.

It may also be useful when in the workplace to try some time-management techniques as often people may feel stressed due to a perceived lack of time to complete work. The NHS has some useful tips on how to manage your time that can be applied to the workplace.

Others may want to try mindfulness, which can both help to improve moods as well as reduce stress levels. The website is the perfect place to get started with mindfulness as well as explain what it actually is.

If the symptoms of stress continue and get worse, it is advisable to contact a GP. They will be able to advise other options that may be of more use. Encouraging people to become more aware of their own emotions and when they do not feel like normal can be crucial in preventing stress related burnout as it will allow them to try and adjust their routines.

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Sarah Jubb

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