Stress Awareness Month: Stress in the Workplace
April 14, 2023
April is Stress Awareness Month, an opportunity to have conversations about stress, it’s causes, and what we can do to help maintain a healthy balance in our lives.
Experiencing some degree of stress in the workplace is normal, and can be important in getting us motivated – read our article on Eustress. However, excessive stress has a wide range of negative impacts on our productivity, our relationships and our overall wellbeing, including struggling to meet deadlines, inability to concentrate, anger, fatigue, sick days or physical symptoms like headaches or stomach ache. If left unresolved, workplace stress can lead to burnout and mental health issues including depression and anxiety. Stress is one of the main causes of work absence and can be caused by workload, change, management style, or a gap in our skillset, as well as factors outside the workplace.
If we find ourselves struggling with workplace stress it’s important to take action. This starts with recognising our signs of stress and understanding what the causes are. We will all reach that tipping point from positive pressure to negative stress at different points, and we can exhibit stress in different ways.
When we can recognise negative thoughts, feelings or behaviours we can then do something about them. This could be simple things like getting up and making a cup of tea after a tricky call or going for a walk at lunch time. It’s also really helpful to talk to colleagues in those stressful moments. Maintaining a good work/life balance also helps us to make time for those things that make us feel good, like time with family and friends or taking part in our favourite sport.
There may also be resources within your organisation that you can access. Speaking with your line manager is key and could lead to a temporary adjustment to your workload or working hours to support you in re-establishing balance, or perhaps could result in relevant training that builds your skills. You may also have access to an employee assistance programme that could provide further support.
Even if we don’t experience negative stress regularly, it is still helpful to establish good routines to look after our mental health and wellbeing. Making sure we are eating well, getting regular exercise, having social interaction and doing those things that help us maintain balance will help to protect against the impact of stress in the future.
If you want to better understand the physical and emotional reaction to stress, what may lead to stress and poor mental health, and how to support and build resilience for ourselves and others, why not join us for our online Stress Identification and Self Management session on Wednesday 19 April. Click here to book.
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This course helps you to better understand stress, our physical and emotional reactions, what may lead to stress and poor mental health, and how to support and build resilience for ourselves and others.