Stress Awareness Week 2021 - Employees
Nov 3 2021 8:50AM
Stress is something that everyone experiences at some point, especially in the workplace during high pressure situations. Low level stress can be motivational, but it is important to identify when this is no longer the case, and you may need additional support to be able to deal with each day and your work tasks. High levels of work-related stress can contribute to anxiety and depression, and can generally make most people feel unwell, leading to loss of workdays.
What are the indicators that you might be stressed?
If you are stressed you may notice some changes in the way you think, feel and act. Some examples are:
- Feeling negative
- Feeling isolated
- Being unable to concentrate
- Eating more or less than usual
- Smoke, drink or take drugs ‘to cope’
- Have difficulty sleeping
Who can you talk to about stress in the workplace?
If you are feeling signs of stress at work, it is important that you talk to someone. The sooner that you talk to someone, it will allow them the chance to help and stop the situation getting worse. You can talk to a variety of people, from:
- Trade union representatives
- HR department
- Employee assistance programme/counselling service if your company has these
You may feel that you cannot talk about stress at work, because of the stigma stress has. But it is important to remember that stress is not a weakness and can happen to anyone.
What can you do to alleviate the negative side effects of stress?
Below are twelve ‘Self Help Tips’ that can help you to alleviate the negative side effects of stress:
- Identify the problem(s)
- Take some time to think up a few solutions
- Only tackle things you can change
- If possible, talk to colleagues. They too may have ideas
- Talk to managers about concerns and see if help or advice can be given or extra training for staff groups
- Let managers know if jobs are overloaded – having too much to do, not enough time etc, or under loaded – not enough to do, repetitive etc.
- Voice any fears about job security, changes in job structure
- Prioritise your workload. Completing high priority jobs first will create a great sense of achievement and boost your morale
- Match your workload and pace to your abilities and training. Do not be afraid to delegate or ask for help
- If you feel angry then take a deep breath, “stand back” in your mind’s eye (in other words count to ten) before reacting. If you notice that you are angry more often than usual, then consider seeking support
- Try to maintain a sense of humour and keep things in perspective. There may be outside personal pressures to add to those at work. Developing a personal action plan to tackle both issues could be very beneficial
- Consider other sources of help in the Company if the sense of stress is prolonged. Seek help at an early stage before matters develop into a crisis or make you feel ill.
What should your employer do to manage stress in the workplace?
Your employer has a legal duty to assess the risks to your health from stress within the workplace and share the results of any risk assessment with you. It is important to carry out a risk assessment to identify stressful situations and the tasks you need to undertake. The purpose of the assessment is to identify what measures are needed to provide you with a safe environment in which to work.
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