Stress Awareness 101



Did you know that since 1992, April has been recognized as the Stress Awareness Month? Do not get me wrong, it is by no means about dwelling on stressors and feeling blue for 30 days in a row! In fact, stress awareness is about drawing attention to the importance of mental well-being, health consequences of stress, and healthy and effective coping mechanisms.

But why is it so important?

Stress is a universal experience, and, unfortunately, there is no magical pill that can make anyone immune to it. In the workplace environment, most common sources of stress are poor management practices, organizational culture, workplace relationships, heavy workload, almost-impossible deadlines, long hours, job insecurity, organizational changes, lack of support – the list goes on and on. Most of the time, some people are not even aware that they are under stress, while others, although aware, do not acknowledge the fact that they need to take action. Hence, being aware of and understanding the stress are the first steps to tackling it and feeling better!

Signs of work-related stress

How to understand stress? Every person goes through stress in a different and unique way, so there is no “one size fits all” guide. However, reflecting on current and past experiences can help us recognize stress in the future at the early stages.

Workplace stress can manifest itself in three various ways: physical, psychological, and behavioural. Look out for the signs of stress you may have below.

  1. Physical symptoms include
  • Fatigue
  • Aches
  • Sleeping problems (e.g., insomnia)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blood pressure
  • Chest pain or a pounding heart
  • Digestive problems
  • Change of appetite
  • Weak immune system
  • Dermatological issues

2. Psychological signs include symptoms related to one’s emotional and mental well-being. For instance,

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability
  • Apathy and loss of motivation
  • Loss of confidence
  • Feeling frustrated and overwhelmed
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Panic attacks

3. Behavioural symptoms include

  • High absenteeism
  • Change of eating habits
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Decreased work performance and productivity
  • Problems with work relationships
  • Mood swings
  • Isolation
  • Smoking, gambling, drug and/or alcohol abuse

Did you recognize yourself in these listed signs? Don’t be frightened, it is human to be stressed. Now, all you have to do is create your own coping mechanism toolkit that you can reach to when you feel stressed! Do you already know how are you going to do that?

 

 

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