Every job has its stressful moments, no matter how much you love your work. But if work-related stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelming and harmful not only to your productivity, but also to your health and well-being.
- In a recent American Psychological Association study, 65 percent of Americans cited work as a top source of stress. And only 37 percent said they were doing an excellent or very good job of managing that stress.
Factors contributing to job stress might include low salary, excessive workload, too few opportunities for growth or advancement, work that’s not engaging or challenging, and lack of social support. You may feel as though you don’t have adequate control over job-related decisions, you have conflicting demands on your time, or your performance expectations are unclear to you.
Signs of Stress
Stress causes you to produce more of the hormone cortisol, which can affect anything from memory to sleep, and can trigger an automatic fight-or-flight response. Are you experiencing any of these work-related stress symptoms?
You rarely take breaks.
Even bathroom breaks sometimes feel like a luxury. You feel so much pressure at work that even your most basic needs are being ignored. Take a short walk at lunchtime, listen to some music, or simply practice a few minutes of deep breathing when stress becomes a tidal wave.
You forget basic things.
It may be co-workers’ names, or where you put that document that you printed five minutes ago. It’s difficult to be clear-headed when your brain is on stress overload. Try learning to relax using techniques like meditation and mindfulness, whereby you actively observe present experiences and thoughts without judging them. Try to focus purposefully on a single activity without distraction.
You have tech overload.
Do you find yourself frantically trying to squeeze a full morning’s worth of work into just a few minutes by messaging team members, sending emails, organizing your calendar and starting on a big project – all at the same time? Stress can shift you into a state of restless motion, and then you lose focus on your priorities. Multitasking backfires and becomes the opposite of efficient. One research study showed that even trying to do two things at once causes your attention to drop by 37 percent.
You suffer from insomnia.
Sleep disturbance occurs when you’re too wired to fall – or stay – asleep. Alleviate this by taking breaks throughout the day to help reduce stress hormones.. Stay off email and your phone before bedtime. The blue light from your computer can hinder the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you doze off.
You don’t feel well.
Stress can take a severe physical toll. Sore muscles result, along with headaches from worrying too much. Stomachaches stem from decreased nutrient absorption and reduced blood flow. Unchecked, stress can contribute to irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, heart disease or a weakened immune system. Some people compound it by dealing in unhealthy ways, such as overeating, smoking or abusing drugs or alcohol.
Ready to stress less?
Talk to you manager if you’re experiencing signs of stress at work. Like any problem, it’s best to nip it in the bud with an effective resolution plan. For additional resources, turn to the experts at Lyons HR. We can help you find a solution, whether it’s making adjustments in your current job or finding a new opportunity that offers the right work-life balance. Contact us today to learn more.