Does Work Stress You?
Does your work provide challenges that motivate you into action? Or would you say your work is a source of stress giving rise to overload, feeling out of control or distressed?
Let’s deepen our understanding of work stress and what you can do to wind back work stress when you need to.
It can be tough to get away from work stress as thoughts and worries often flow over into home life. Sometimes a person can not leave a stressful work situation as they need the regular income to provide for oneself and loved ones. So building stress resilience can be an important way to cope!
Does This Sound Familiar?
A person experiencing work stress can become snappy or impatient with those around them both at work and at home. Extreme work stress:
- Impedes job satisfaction
- Negatively affects overall happiness
- Impacts confidence and productivity
- Causes one to worry about problems, deadlines and job security
- Increases conflicts with colleagues
- Reduces ability to relax at home
- Reduces the desire to participate in recreational activities
Thinking back to a time when you experienced work stress, did it have many origins or come from one single event?
Common causes for work stress include unmanageable workloads, periods of change due to management shifts or redundancies, moving branches or departments and promotions.
Interestingly one research study found
Women were 75 per cent more likely to suffer from clinical depression or general anxiety disorder when they reported high levels of psychological job demands – such as long hours, pressure or lack of clear direction than women who reported the lowest levels of psychological job demands.
Men were 80 per cent more likely to be depressed or anxious, with these work stress factors than those with the lowest levels of psychological job demands. Dunedin – New Zealand
Which of the following can you see in yourself or a colleague?
Sometimes people experience stress-related emotional and bodily symptoms, but are not aware that these are signs of ‘stress’.
Which of the following symptoms of stress do you experience regularly or see in a colleague?
Typical bodily symptoms include pain, hypertension, rashes, migraine, worsening of premenstrual syndrome, heart disease and stroke, irritable bowel or constipation.
Typical symptoms of mental function include reduced memory, concentration, problem-solving or decision-making ability and becoming more error-prone. People also can become irritable or indecisive, ‘down’, anxious (suffer from panic attacks) or become clinically depressed.
Common behavioural changes include lowered productivity, deteriorating relationships with workmates, family or friends, and sleep disturbance; not being able to get to sleep and/or waking in the night.
- Stressed individuals have slower reactions and complain about their health, for example, frequent headaches and have changes in appetite.
- An increase of gambling, cigarettes, alcohol and other recreational drugs.
- Suffering from fatigue
- Drinking more alcohol or smoking more cigarettes than usual or turning to other recreational drugs.
When you or a colleague experience “stress overload” behaviour changes and you may notice a lowering of performance, absenteeism or presenteeism, arriving late and or leaving early, and reduced confidence and motivation. Stressed people can become belligerent, cynical, show lack of engagement, poor motivation, low confidence and have deteriorating relationships with workmates, family or friends, or behave badly.
Having reviewed the signs of work stress above how would you score your level of work stress, low, moderate or high levels of work stress?
Work Stress Action Plan
Here are tips to help you build your resilience to work stress.
- Where needed share your work – ask a co-worker or supervisor for help when you need it.
- Co-operate by trying a little ‘give and take.’ When experiencing disagreement with a colleague stop and think about one thing you can agree upon.
- Did you know… the way you think about a stressor affects how your body responds. When we focus upon negative ideas and self-talk then stress levels increase. When we entertain positive thoughts and self-talk it is easier to keep stress levels in check. So as the saying goes, accentuate the positive!
- Utilise opportunities to learn new skills, especially those relevant to your work which will support greater efficiency and effectiveness. Be proactive and ask your employer for training opportunities.
- Assertiveness training can be helpful. Aim to interact with demanding co-workers in a diplomatic and constructive way.
- Focus on managing your time effectively to help meet deadlines and to enhance the sense of being in control.
- Use problem-solving skills to help find solutions to stressful situations.
A regular daily routine greatly helps to build stress resilience:
- Be in bed by 10 pm.
- Have a computer, mobile, tablet free bedroom zone and have a minimum of 45 minutes free from these devices before bed.
- Aim to have 7-8.5 hours of undisturbed sleep a night.
- Exercise regularly, including yoga stretches daily.
- Favour relaxation techniques such as Transcendental Meditation.
- Make time for things you enjoy.
- Talk to supportive friends and family.
- Eat well-balanced meals, favouring seasonal produce and avoid skipping meals.
- Be well hydrated.
- Eat at regular intervals with your largest quantity of food at lunchtime and a light, warm evening meal by 6 pm.
A helping hand
Over time the body can become hypersensitive to stress, with a hair-trigger response to stressful situations. Consider supporting resilience by regularly taking the following herbal formulations.
Take Stress-Free Emotions (MA1694) to help balance emotional highs and lows in order to help reduce irritability, frustration or bouts of anger.
Take Peace of Mind (MA1401) to help support the mind’s natural ability to function with calm, focus and the ability to be decisive. These qualities both help to reduce work stress and are important when dealing with the effects of long term stress.
Sip Take it Easy (Peace of Mind) Tea during the day to help smooth out emotions, calm the mind and soothe frayed nerves.
Take Blissful Sleep Basic (MA1778) to help calm, settle and ease the mind and body to support ease in going to sleep.
Wishing you enhanced resilience to work stress and the joy of a healthy work-life balance.
Linda Sinden, Maharishi AyurVeda Consultant
Linda Sinden has been a practising Maharishi Ayurveda Consultant since 1990 and is a regular contributor to our health articles. She has a practice in Auckland, New Zealand and also provides phone or Skype sessions for those who need assistance, but don’t have a consultant in their vicinity.
Mobile: +64 212237525
DISCLAIMER: The information in this document is presented for the sole purpose of imparting education on Maharishi AyurVeda and neither the information nor the products are intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition or are pregnant or lactating, please consult a health professional and it is recommended that you speak with your physician before making significant changes to your diet or routine.