Workplace stress can affect anybody. It can even go beyond the workplace and affect a person’s family life. It doesn’t take much for pressure to mount, and without intervention it can lead to serious health issues.
Causes of work-related stress
I talk about this topic in my book, MindShift to a Better Place. Some of the most common causes of work-related stress are working long hours, a consistently heavy workload, no flexibility or bullying within the workplace. An unhealthy workplace, with little natural light or poor air filtration, can also cause physical stress. All of these causes can be made worse if you don’t have a supportive workplace.
Dr Lars Madsen, clinical advisor to The MindShift Foundation, tells us that the impact that work has on overall wellbeing and self-worth is significant. Having realistic expectations of yourself will help avoid issues like stress and burnout. Learning how to recognise the signs of work-related stress is also important.
Signs of work-related stress
Work-related stress can reveal itself through signs, such as:
How to deal with stress at work
Learning how to recognise what causes work-related stress and the symptoms of distress is important. Some ways to help manage stress include:
It might be hard to talk to your employer, but if you need to reduce your workload or negotiate flexibility in your hours then they must be consulted. Workplaces are generally understanding of the impact of stress and how it can potentially lead to serious conditions like anxiety or depression. Employers are obligated to look after your health while you are under their care. State and federal organisations can protect your legal welfare should there be an issue with your employer, while community and charitable organisations can assist with stress relief or other mental health concerns. See some of our suggested links here.
Being proactive against work-related stress
Work-related stress should be avoidable in most jobs. There are things you can do to maintain a healthy mindset while you’re on the job, such as:
It’s natural to want to exceed expectations in any job role, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of your mental and physical health. Figure out what your limits are and then play to your strengths. Work-related stress happens when we let ourselves get overwhelmed.
Elizabeth Venzin is the Founder and CEO of the Australian not-for-profit organisation The MindShift Foundation. She is an advocate for preventative mental health and the author of MindShift to a Better Place.
Resources about preventative mental health can be found at the MindShift website www.mindshift.org.au.
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