AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

In the UK we work an average of 40 days’ unpaid overtime a year. That’s more than a month of working simply for the joy of giving. We’re working the longest hours in Europe, so it’s not surprising that in 2010/11 roughly 400,000 British people reported work-related stress had reached a point where it was making them ill.

Workplace Stress Keeping An Eye Out For Workplace Stress

One in five GP visits are down to psychological problems, including stress, anxiety and depression.

Signs to Look Out For

The problem seems to be too much of a good thing. A little pressure at work is a great motivator, but in excess it not only stresses out, it makes you less productive. A healthy worker is, after all, a productive worker.

Symptoms of stress to look out for include a pounding heart or palpatations, dry mouth, odd aches and pains, headaches, even losing your appetite for food and sex.

The Root of the Problem

Workplace stress can come about for all sorts of reasons. Anything from increased pressure, tight deadlines or managerial changes to bullying or disciplinary measures can trigger it. It can also push you towards temporary solutions that will, if anything, make your situation worse, such as excessive drinking or smoking.

Know When to Say No

To look after your health you need to ensure that you’re employing healthy stress management techniques.  Perhaps the most important of these is the ability to say no. In a work environment where everyone feels lucky just to have a job, and nobody feels like their job is secure people are always reluctant to turn down a request, but the fact is you have a finite work capacity, and you need to recognise where that is if you’re going to avoid workplace stress.

This isn’t just good for your health, but your career as well. It’s better that you take on only what you can manage and do it well than take on too much and fail.

It’s also worth remembering that your employer has a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their staff, thanks to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Just as someone working in a building site has to conduct risk assessments for cranes and scaffolding, if you’re working in an office your employer is obliged to conduct risk assessments for work-related stress.

Ask for Help

Your employer is not the only person you can talk to about these things. Your GP may be able to offer you support, and it may be worth seeking advice from a counsellor or psychotherapist who can help you get to the bottom of exactly what is making you so stressed.

Everybody feels the heat sometimes, and often something as simple as taking a holiday will fix it. But it’s also possible that stress is your body alerting you to a more fundamental problem with your life right now, so it’s important to pay attention to the signs that it’s giving you.

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About the Author: Sam Wright is a freelance writer who works with Psychotherapist London.


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