7 Common Signs of Workplace Stress

In our modern age of technology, we now have the ability to work 24/7 and this has led to a steep increase in the number of people suffering from work-related stress. Whether you are employed by a company or you run your own business, it can be hard to switch off from your day-to-day responsibilities. Stress has been linked to cancer, mainly due to sufferers tending to resort to unhealthy habits, such as smoking, heavy drinking and overeating. As such, stress is now a permanent fixture on the NHS and government’s agenda in terms of being a major health risk. In this article, we explore the tell-tale signs of stress, sharing tips on when it could be time to consider seeking help.

What are the signs of stress?

Many people are unaware that they’re suffering from work-related stress until the symptoms start to
affect their daily lives. Here are several examples to help you spot the signs of stress:

1. How would you describe your general mood?

We all have bad days; this is perfectly normal. However, when every working day feels like a bad day, this is a sign that something is very wrong and needs to be changed. You may start to feel more irritable and you may find that you are less motivated to do activities you previously enjoyed.

2. Do you struggle to get up for work each morning?

If you’re feeling anxious or depressed about going to work each day, you may feel as if you’re in a constant ‘brain fog’ as the strain starts to affect your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as your ability to sleep.

3. Do you struggle to sleep at night?

If it takes you ages to go to sleep and/or you’re waking up worrying about all the things you need to do at work, then this is a tell-tale sign you are suffering from work-related stress.

4. Are you feeling less sociable?

Whether at work or at home, you may start to feel less enthusiastic about spending time with colleagues or friends. You might be keeping yourself occupied at work for long hours to avoid talking to your team members, or to avoid expressing your true feelings to your family and friends.

5. Have you noticed your standard of work slipping?

If you’re feeling low, every work task seems to become harder and harder, as you feel increasingly distracted. When you’re not able to focus on the task at hand, you won’t be able to do a good job, and this in turn can lead to even more stress.

6. Are you falling into bad habits?

If you’re unhappy at work, you may find yourself feeling in need of a drink when you return home in the evening. Heavy drinking habits can take hold unexpectedly, as your alcohol consumption increases each time you feel under pressure – for example, a glass of wine turns into a bottle. Some people find themselves smoking, even if they have stopped years ago.

7. Are you eating differently?

A change in appetite is a big sign that you are being affected by stress. You could be experiencing a complete loss of appetite or a sudden increase in the form of binge eating. As well as drinking and smoking, bad eating habits are a leading cause of physical illness, and this is when stress can have a drastic affect on your health.

What can I do if I am experiencing stress at work?

First of all, decide whether there is someone you can trust to talk openly with about your feelings. This could be your line manager, a colleague, a friend or family member. It’s very important that you feel able to discuss how you are feeling, free from any judgement and in a confidential setting. If you feel that you are unable to manage your stress levels, then it’s a good idea to talk to a qualified counsellor or therapist, who will be able to help you deal with any fears and anxieties you may be

What are organisations doing about stress?

On 10th October each year, World Mental Health Day puts a spotlight on mental health issues, encouraging organisations and individuals to discuss how stress is affecting people’s lives. There are a few larger organisations that offer specialist counselling services in the form of employee helplines, but this is not the case for the majority of companies. Over the past few years, there has been a steep increase in the number of corporate organisations offering wellness programmes to help their employees deal with day-to-day stress – for example, mindfulness, counselling and therapy sessions.

We welcome the fact that stress is now very much on the national agenda, but we would like to see more organisations utilising professional therapists and counsellors in the workplace to help employees deal with stress.

If you are suffering from work-related stress and you need help or a safe, confidential place to discuss your feelings, then please get in touch. Together, we will explore your issues and help you overcome any obstacles that may be affecting your day-to-day working life.