How Being Stressed At Work Can Affect Your Health

This year don’t get stressed at work!

That’s quite a goal to live up to, and it obviously isn’t something you can guarantee you can stop happening, but if you’ve found yourself in a semi-serious New Year, New Me mode coming into 2020, you’ll be looking for ways to eliminate stress and have a better work/life balance.

According to the Health Executive Agency, a study on work-related stress, depression or anxiety statistics in Great Britain found that “work-related stress accounts for an average of 23.9 days of work lost for every person affected”. That’s over three full work weeks for not just the person who is under stress, but EVERYONE in their immediate workgroup. A lot of stress indeed.

If you’re someone who thinks they’re feeling stressed at work, can’t switch off entirely when getting home, or feel it could be affecting your overall health, you’ll be glad to know there are easy ways to fight it. In this short post, I’ll be giving a quick rundown of stress, what it does, how to combat it, and ways to get support.

So what causes stress at work?

You know when you have it, and you know when it’s gone, but just what exactly is going on for you to be stressed? I think it’s important to understand what stress is and how it manifests before you start thinking of ways to combat it.

From a shared perspective, stress is the pressure we feel when we’re overcome by a situation or life event, with the most notable examples being given too much to do at work or having financial problems at home. When workloads are too much, you’re being talked to negatively or things don’t seem to be going right, you’re going to be stressed at work.

How stress at work affects YOU

How stress affects you is an entirely individualistic experience and comes about differently from person to person. You could feel on edge or tetchy, get headaches, feel your heart rate sore or have tension. Because stress has a hormonal reaction, people will get symptoms manifesting themselves in different ways, whether physically or by finding yourself not being able to concentrate and forgetting basic information while working.

Stress leads to bad habits

You don’t have to be irritable when you’re stressed, and while it’s the most common response to be snappy when irritated, stress can have knock-on effects that snowball.

The most common bad habits people end up with are a lack of sleep, drinking or smoking more than usual, and going through bouts where you go from feeling hungry to veering towards junk food. While some can be temporary, for anyone who feels stress regularly and doesn’t look at ways to combat it, it can create bad habits that need “stress busters” to fight it.

So what stress busters help?

There are several ways you can fight stress, with the most common including:

  • Using time management techniques
  • Learning how to take controlled breaths
  • Using apps that promote mindfulness
  • Making lists to declutter your mind
  • Not looking at work-related material out of hours

Exercise is our best friend when it comes to eliminating stress, and it doesn’t matter what form you go for. As reported by OneWelback Heart Health, “running a marathon for the first time could have several health benefits including reducing blood pressure” that is commonly affected by stress.

Of course, you don’t need to go and sign up for the London Marathon right away. Just getting the body active after work can help create separation. If you’re someone who stays too late at work and commutes right back home with that feeling still lingering, hitting the gym, park or pavement is going to do wonders. A jog around the park is going to be much better than shuffling down to the pub and getting the last train home.

manage stress

It doesn’t last long, so remember that

A great tactic to employ is being able to understand your stress. While you might not be able to control it in the moment, knowing that it will pass can help bring your levels down a touch.

If, after reading this, you feel you might be getting stressed more than you’d like, it’s advisable to book an appointment with your GP. When you feel stressed, write down what you’re feeling physically and emotionally. These little feelings you have can help your doctor get a good grip on where your stress is coming from and how to deal with it accordingly.

The Mental Health Foundation also has excellent resources on their website, including practical advice, videos and even podcasts to help fight stress.

Jackie LaMar

Beach lover. SoCal dweller. Life is never over unless you surrender. Keep going, the prize IS out there.

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