In a three year period (2015 - 2018), the average prevalence rate for work-related stress, depression or anxiety for males was 1,370 cases and 1,950 cases for females per 100,000 workers. (The HSE). These figures highlight just how important it is for employers to monitor their employee's stress levels. Stress can lower productivity as well as increase absenteeism at work, which ultimately could have a detrimental effect on organisations.
Stress affects everyone differently. There is no one thing that triggers stress for everyone because we all react differently to stress. For some, too much pressure can generate into stress whereas, for others, a single event can cause stress.
What can make you stressed?
Stress at work:
- Dissatisfaction with your job
- Having a heavy workload/too much responsibility
- Being overworked or doing long hours
- Working in a dangerous environment
- Having to do public speaking in front of your colleagues
- Having unclear expectations of your work or no say in your team
- Feeling insecure about your chance to advance or being worried about being dismissed
- Facing discrimination or harassment at work
Stress in your personal life:
- Loss of a loved one
- Losing a job
- Increased financial obligations that you may not be able to cope with
- Getting married
- Moving house
- Illness or injury
- Mental ill-health
- Having the responsibility of being a carer - looking after a sick/elderly family member
- A traumatic event e.g. theft, violence or a natural disaster.
Other stress factors:
- Fear or uncertainty - things like terrorist attacks, global warming and toxic chemicals.
- Attitudes and perceptions - how you view the world can determine if it causes you stress
- Unrealistic expectations - if you expect everything to be right all of the time, you will feel stressed when things don’t go as expected
- Change - some people find stress in their daily life stressful
How stress can affect your health
When we are put in the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ situation our bodies experience an increase in speed of heartbeat, faster breathing, tensed muscles and sometimes you’ll start to sweat. Sometimes short term stress can cause:
- Trouble sleeping
- Upset stomach
- Trouble concentrating
The rush of stress hormones that you get from constantly feeling stressed can put a lot of strain on your body. So long-term stress can cause more serious problems like:
- Hardening of the arteries
- Heart attacks or heart disease
- Heartburn, ulcers or IBS
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Weight loss/gain
- Asthma or arthritis flare up
- Fertility problems
- Skin problems
Stress Relief Techniques
Everyone will have a different way to relieve stress. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Breathing techniques
- Playing music
- Find yourself a good support network
- Make some time for yourself
- Avoid unhealthy habits, like smoking or alcohol
- Challenge yourself
- Be positive
- Except you can’t change everything
- Write things down - sometimes visualising a busy to do list can help you decide what is essential and what isn't
- Learn to say no when you are too busy
Measure your stress with our Stress Assessment Tool
We provide a Stress Assessment Tool to help you to identify physical, mental and emotional signs of stress and to offer ideas to relieve stress. This tool will allow you to take a step back and evaluate whether the symptoms that you are experiencing are in fact stress. It will look at both physical symptoms and mental health symptoms. This assessment is confidential and will not be shared with anyone, including us.
Our Stress Awareness Course allows you to understand more about stress, identify stress, reduce it and then prevent it. This training is essential to make sure that employees to stay in control and don’t let stress problems continue to grow before they get too serious. Our course is suitable for all levels of staff including management and employers.