Whether you work in retail, manufacturing, the service sector or a professional office, chances are good that your job is a major source of stress in your life. According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, 65 percent of Americans cited their workplace as “a top source of stress”, and only 37 percent of those surveyed said they were managing workplace stress effectively.
While some stress is a normal, healthy part of everyday life, high levels of ongoing workplace stress can have a serious impact on your overall health and wellness. Left unchecked, stress can lead to a host of health problems, including Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, memory impairment and cardiovascular disease, making stress a leading cause of work-related disability and death.
The good news is, that by learning about the common signs and symptoms of workplace stress, you can take positive, lasting steps to reduce the negative impact of on-the-job stress on your health and wellness.
One of the most common signs of workplace stress is a feeling of being completely overwhelmed by your job, leading to a sense of hopelessness. This can leave you feeling burnt out, apathetic, and irritated, causing you to lose interest in your job.
Away from work, you may experience difficulty sleeping, changes in your appetite, a reduction in your sex drive and difficulties sleeping. You could develop physical symptoms such as headaches, heartburn, and achy joints.
Unfortunately, workplace stress is a vicious cycle – once you begin showing signs like a lack of interest in your job, reduced levels of motivation, and a feeling that you no longer care, your colleagues and supervisors will begin to notice, often resulting in unwanted pressure and attention from your superiors. This can make the problem of workplace stress even worse, adding the fear of being demoted, asked to take on more tasks, or even job loss to your already-stressful situation.
If you feel like workplace stress is threatening your overall wellness, there are steps you can take to take control of the situation and reduce the harmful effects of chronic stress at work.
Start by carefully analyzing your daily schedule – do you have a healthy work-life balance? Be sure to blend in personal and family time with your work commitments, focusing on healthy, stress-reducing activities like exercise, social events and quiet time away from the office.
Fight the urge to say ‘yes’ to every project and request – your co-workers will respect the fact that you are using limits to control your workplace stress.
Take your vacation days – all of them! According to a recent study, 41 percent of American workers don’t use all their vacation time, in spite of the fact that time away from work can dramatically increase workplace productivity and wellness!
By recognizing the signs and symptoms of workplace stress, you can take proactive steps to control your stress and avoid becoming apathetic, unproductive and unhealthy!