According to the HSE, the total number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2013/14 was 487 000 out of a total of 1 241 000 cases for all work-related illnesses. The industries that reported that highest rates of work related stress included the human health and social work industries, education, public administration and defence. Nurses, teaching/educational occupations and health/social care professionals reported the highest incidences of work related stress.
The things that people have the most stress about in life are the things that they have no control over or think they have no control over. Whilst a healthy amount of stress can increase productivity, be motivating and improve performance, too much over long periods of time is unhealthy for the mind and body. Mental symptoms can include difficult sleeping, anxiety attacks, difficulty concentrating, sweating, lack of appetite, anger, changes in behaviour, crying, food cravings and generally feeling anxious all the time. Physical symptoms can include diarrhoea, dizziness, cramps, and spasms, biting one’s nails, nervous twitches, feeling restless and being breathless. One should not keep these things internal hoping they will go away. Rather than trying to cope on one’s own one should go to their GP and if possible talk to a supportive friend.
NHS Video – Coping with Stress
Things you can do to help you when feeling anxious or overwhelmed with stress at work…
- Take time for exercise, this is really time out and will allow the body to expel and express itself physically in a harmless environment. It will also raise the happy hormones. Outlets like playing sports, swimming and joining yoga classes are very good distractions from the work environment. Whilst exercising, especially running, one may be able to think through the problems more clearly and find a solution
- Engage in relaxation techniques outside of work, for example, listening to soft music, meditating or going for a quiet drive can do wonders for recharging the body and soul
- Drinking plenty of water and generally eating well. Dehydration can make one irritable and make a potential problem worse or even cause stress. Eating less sugary, salty and processed foods will help clear the body of toxins and allow it to be as nature intended. Good food will naturally decrease fatigue and make one feel more alert and able to deal better with stressful situations
- Act rather than react in a work situation. One should try to let go of what they cannot control or at least try to escalate the problem to their line manager or HR who may be better able to deal with the situation. Situations that can be controlled by the worker should be managed in a positive manner as far as possible
- Interruptions at work can cause stress and cause one to be less productive. One should prioritise tasks such as answering phone calls and emails at a set time, if other work is a priority. However, if answering emails and phone calls cannot wait these should be prioritised over other work. Multitasking and juggling different things all together can overwhelm the individual. This prioritising also needs to be brought over into the home life so there is a life balance.
- Be what you think. Research has shown that thoughts can cause a person to be happy or not. Whilst there are often life circumstances out of our control, one can at least try to have some kind of positive thinking that hopefully will make them feel better in the long run by producing a proactive attitude to problematic situations