understanding work-related stress and how to manage it – Part 1

work-related stress and how to overcome it.

Welcome to our two-part digest on work-related stress and how to overcome it. During this week, we’re talking about work-related stress; including how to identify WRS, understanding the causes of it and how to manage it. So let’s kick off part one of this two-part special with some hard hitting facts that you may not have known about work-related stress:

  • 37% – the number of work related ill health cases that are related to stress.
  • 488,000 – the total number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16.
  • 1/3 – the proportion of people who report high levels of stress in the workplace.
  • 7% who openly say that their job is the cause of stress.

Now that you know the facts, it’s important to understand what work-related stress exactly is…

Understanding what is ‘work-related stress’

In a nutshell, work-related stress occurs when the demands of work exceed your ability to cope. This can be anything from missing a deadline, to difficulties with building strong relationships with your colleagues or manager, it’. In some instances of really high levels of work-related stress, you often find people begin to feel low self-worth and this can impact well-being and motivation. But as with anything, knowing yourself, how you react to things and having the right attitude, you can overcome any challenges you may have and beat stress.

What causes work-related stress

The causes themselves are varied, and there’s no doubt that we’ve all experienced work-related stress in some way during our careers. Understanding the causes is the key to identifying stress in yourself and your colleagues.

Here’s three for you to consider, and how you might overcome these:

Poor working conditions

This might simply be, low light, a dark dingy office or desk, or even a noisy environment. There’s quick fixes here that can really up your mood rapidly. For one, consider personalising your workspace – add a bit of your personality to your desk. Introduce a picture of a loved one or family members and get yourself a nice plant. Actually, getting a plant could be one of the best things you do as studies show that plants in the office improve memory retention and increase productivity. So if you’re engaged with your surroundings, you often intend to be happier.

Being under pressure to meet deadlines

We’ve all had deadlines or even targets to meet. More often deadlines provide the right level of pressure to allow us to be more productive, creative and often allow us to thrive within our workplace. On some occasions however, having unrealistic or hard to achieve deadlines and targets can cause real undue stress and it’s important to understand that at this stage, the only way to overcome this problem is through honest and transparent communications with your colleagues or line manager. This can be the most stressful part, but more often than not, once you’ve had the much needed conversation and you see your manager showing compassion and a sense of direction, the weight of the world will be lifted and you now know that actually, just speaking to someone can really help. Honestly try it, you’ll be surprised at how ‘human’ your manager actually is.

Lack of control in your working environment

There may be times wheen you’re not able to control the destiny of something in the workplace, and this can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Fear not, when things are out of your control, it’s OK, they may be in someone else’s control and when you actually think about it, you can in fact control it through building a strong relationship with those who hold the control. Trust is key here, and you can build it through helping others, showing thoughtfulness and care for your team, a positive ‘can do’ attitude and an openness to others ideas. In fact these are traits of leadership too, so the better you are at them, the more others will follow your lead!

Check out part 2 tomorrow, where we discuss in detail ways in which you can manage and overcome your work-related stress.

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