Work stress refers to one of the types of stress, specifically that which takes place in the workplace. Currently, the field of work is one of the great sources of concern for the population. Furthermore, working conditions are increasingly precarious and exploitative, since the economic benefit of companies prevails over the health of workers in the current organizational model of work. If you want to know how to cope with this type of stress, keep reading our article: How to manage work stress.
Work stress: symptoms
Work-related stress manifests itself through a series of symptoms that can be an early warning sign. These signs indicate that you may be experiencing job stress. The symptomatology of work stress affects the well-being of the person, as well as generates alterations in different vital dimensions:
- Physical symptoms: tiredness, headaches, increased heart and respiratory rates, muscle tension, sleep problems, stomach pain, increased sweating, anguish, nausea, ...
- Psychological symptoms: bad mood, irritability, demotivation, sadness, impatience, distractions and forgetfulness, insecurity, worry, feeling of lack of control, disorientation, difficulty in making decisions, shame, etc.
- Behavioral dimension: increased consumption of substances such as coffee and tobacco, unhealthy and irregular eating patterns, decreased relationships in the work environment, difficulty in disconnecting from work at leisure, impulsive behaviors, speech disturbances such as stuttering or excess speed when speaking etc.
Work stress test
This work stress test will help you identify if you have symptoms and to what degree.
Work stress: consequences
Symptoms derived from stress can intensify and become chronic if it is maintained over time. That is, if work stress does not stop and exposure to it is prolonged, early signs or symptoms can lead to the appearance of diseases or disorders that deteriorate the health and well-being of the working person in the long term. The consequences of work stress also take place in different vital areas of the person:
- Physical dimension: cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension or arrhythmias, skin diseases such as alopecia and dermatitis, gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers, muscle injuries such as contractures and chronic pain, insomnia , alterations of the immune system and headaches and migraines.
- Psychological dimension: development of burnout syndrome , a depressive disorder, anxiety disorder , fears and phobias , apathy, self-esteem problems, mental blocks, sexual disorders , emotional lability or instability, and in extreme cases personality disorders or schizophrenic disorders.
- Behavioral dimension: substance abuse, isolation, deterioration of social relationships outside the work environment, aggressive and hostile behaviors, absenteeism from work, alteration in eating behaviors and possible dismissal.
Therefore, it is important to know how to prevent work stress and how to manage work stress. We will address this issue below.
Managing work stress
The work stress is the source of many ailments and diseases, both physical and psychic. That is why it requires an approach and a preventive perspective in order to promote health in the workplace. The indications on the prevention of work stress and how to manage work stress put the focus on both the worker and the company or organization:
- Regarding the company , preventive measures are included on both the physical and social work environment in areas such as ergonomics, work schedules and organization, communication styles, social support for workers, workload, etc. .
- On the other hand, the perspective focused on prevention on the part of working people offers a series of guidelines on how to manage work stress. Individual stress management strategies are intended to promote self-care of the person and provide them with resources to cope with pressure and work demands.
How to manage work stress: 15 tips
How to reduce work stress? Because the work environment is demanding and demanding, it can be a source of pressure for many people. Stress in the workplace affects the well-being of the person and can lead to a series of negative consequences in various life spheres. That is why, below, we explain a series of guidelines or tips on how to manage work stress:
1. Planning time: Proper planning and organization of time can reduce the pressure and mental load, since this way it is not necessary to use energy and other resources in thinking about what to do next. Temporary planning is advisable to do both in the workplace and on a daily basis. At work it is important to order the tasks to be carried out depending on their urgency and importance at the beginning of the day. On the other hand, planning non-work daily activities is also helpful for better optimization of time and better management and use of hours of rest and leisure. For the organization of time Visual calendars and lists can be beneficial, thus facilitating the assimilation of information.
2. Having defined responsibilities: clarifying responsibilities and tasks helps in managing work stress. Uncertainty about job duties is one of the most frequent causes of stress and anguish at work. Therefore, knowing what is expected of you, what tasks you must perform and how they should be performed is another of the strategies to reduce work stress.
3. Establish limits: in relation to the previous point, knowledge of the functions and tasks favors not accepting more work than the person is responsible for. This setting of limits prevents work overload. Likewise, limits must be set between work and personal life, so that a person cannot be available 24 hours. The working day ends when leaving work, so it is not healthy to check the email for work reasons or respond to work calls outside the established day.
4. Avoid multitasking: devoting time and energy to more than one task at a time is detrimental to the health of the worker. In addition, it does not promote concentration or effectiveness, so it is counterproductive and generates a greater stressful feeling. Regarding the focus on a single task, it is helpful to plan and organize these previously according to importance, urgency and the approximate time it will take us to perform it.
5. Set realistic goals: Work is only one facet of life, so it is healthy for people to value themselves beyond the workplace and in other life spheres. That is why it is necessary to establish realistic objectives in employment, which do not consume excessively or occupy all the time available. On the other hand, it is healthy to set goals in other vital and personal areas, since personal growth and learning go far beyond the work environment.
6. Knowing your labor rights: information and knowledge is one of the first steps to achieve personal and collective empowerment. Not only do you have to know what your obligations are at work, but it is essential to know your rights as a worker. This knowledge facilitates the establishment of limits and the claim of fair working conditions and in accordance with the law.
7. Unionization: the unionization of workers benefits their protection and defense of labor and rights. In addition, unions inform and advise people on issues and doubts in the field of work, as well as ensure compliance with decent working conditions. Having this external support fosters a sense of security at work and the achievement of more dignified working conditions, which promote personal well-being.
8. Develop healthy habits: another of the strategies to combat work stress is to maintain some guidelines for care and health. Self-care habits include sleep hygiene, healthy eating patterns, exercising, avoiding the consumption and abuse of substances such as tobacco, coffee, and alcohol, etc.
9. Reserve personal time daily: it is important to try to have moments to disconnect from the workday and to enjoy and pleasure every day. For this, disconnection and care must be taken into account in the organization and day-to-day planning. It is also vital to take time to analyze and reflect on which activities enhance well-being and help cope with routine.
10. Maintain supports: the establishment of support and social networks, both inside and outside of work, contribute to the maintenance of vital well-being. Positive relationships with co-workers promote a good work environment, which is a protective factor from stress. Also, maintaining external social relationships are rewarding and encourage disconnection from work.
11. Learning to manage stress: One strategy to combat stress is relaxation and breathing training . It is important to assess the option of going to a professional person for training in different techniques that reduce stress and increase the person's work coping resources. Among the techniques that can be trained are progressive relationship, breathing exercises, stress inoculation, visualization, cognitive restructuring, etc. Likewise, in therapy, various techniques can be exercised to optimize the management and planning of time and tasks.
12. Identify what stresses you: within the scope of work stress, there are various causes or sources that can explain the stressful situation experienced at work. Therefore, it is important to spend some time analyzing the circumstances exhaustively, in order to identify the specific origins of stress, as well as the resources and tools available to the person to deal with it.
13. Enjoying your free time: spending time with leisure, with people around you and with hobbies, counteracts the feeling of overload and tension. It is essential to identify the satisfaction and reward factors and organize time around them.
14. Do not overload the schedule: sometimes wanting to occupy and enjoy free time in excess can be counterproductive, even stressful. Scheduling too many rewarding activities can end up becoming an obligation and commitment. Therefore, it is convenient to listen to yourself, be aware of the needs, and sometimes do fewer activities, even if they are leisure.
15. Self-rewarding: the ability to provide yourself with a reward after a difficult day, the closure of a project, the achievement of a demanding task, etc. it is another of the self-care tools. Rewarding yourself encourages personal well-being and therefore helps you cope with stress.