Stress Awareness Month April 2016
According to reports, there were 440,000 cases of work related stress, anxiety and depression reported in 2014-15. Although some levels of stress can be seen to increase performance, Nixon, P. (1979) Stress Response Curve; when stress levels reach uncontrollable levels, it can have significantly destructive effects on performance.
However, stress at work doesn’t just affect performance; it can also have a detrimental impact on our health. Research shows that stress accounted for 35% of all work related illness during 2014/15. Further research draws attention to the damaging impact long stretches of stress and anxiety have on the chances of fatal illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
How to Tackle Stress at Work?
Recognise the signs
When presented with a stressful situation, our body instinctively triggers a ‘fight or flight’ response; which refers to the release of specific animalistic hormones which prepare us to deal with threatening situations. During ‘fight or flight’ you may notice an acceleration in heart rate, sweating, loss of appetite and difficulties concentrating. Although it is difficult to avoid these symptoms, it’s important to learn how to effectively deal with them; such as avoiding stress triggers, learning how to relax, regular exercise, and time management.
Nurture your life inside and outside of work
Although the benefits of looking after oneself are blindingly obvious, it’s surprising how many of us choose to ignore them. Regularly sleeping, healthy eating and exercise, result in better performance, positive outlook and all together better health.
It’s also extremely important to look after oneself during work. While constantly saying yes to your boss may initially seem like a positive approach to take, in the long run, this may lead to high levels of stress, poor quality of work and potentially failing to meet deadlines. The key is to recognise your limitations.
Talk to someone
Whether you decide to talk to a fellow employee or confide in someone in your personal life, it is important to talk about how you are feeling. By articulating how you feel you are more likely to discover the root of the stress and thus the solution. Furthermore, an outside perspective may give extra clarity as well as support when needed.