Stress resulting from job demands such as time pressure, added responsibility, and cognitive demands are not necessarily bad as they can stimulate and motivate employees to put extra effort into their work, foster the development of organization and time management skills, and contribute to personal growth. Stress resulting from some other job demands such as role/work overload, role ambiguity, job insecurity, unfavourable and/or unsafe work environment, constraints, and interpersonal conflicts, on the other hand, can interfere with or inhibit an individual’s ability to achieve their work goals, elicit negative emotions, and often have a negative impact on an employee’s wellbeing.
Having a certain amount of work related stress is common and can in fact motivate as well as challenge most employees to stay focused, strive further, and perform better. However, when high job demands are met with low control over one’s work and work environment combined with a lack of support and resources that could moderate, buffer, or deal with those demands, employees’ level of stress can eventually become unmanageable and this can turn into distress, disengagement, and burnout. Ample research has found the association between high work stress or burnout and the increased rates of absenteeism, exhaustion, and injuries; the onset serious physical health and/or mental health problems including depression, chronic pain and coronary heart disease; the deterioration of work and personal relationships; and a noticeable decline in work engagement, productivity, and/or performance.
Symptoms & signs of workplace stress
The signs or symptoms of work-related stress can include the following:
- Irritability and anger
- Feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to cope
- Cognitive difficulties, such as a reduced ability to concentrate, think clearly, or make decisions.
- Muscle tension or pain
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
- Increased blood pressure
- Sleeping difficulties, such as insomnia
- Gastrointestinal upsets, such as diarrhea or constipation
- Weakened immune system
- fatigue / insomnia
- increased cholesterol and fatty acids in blood for energy production system
- An increase in sick days or absenteeism
- Diminished creativity and initiative
- Neglect responsibilities
- A drop in work performance
- Problems with interpersonal relationships
- Irritability, impatience, and lower tolerance of frustration
- Mood swings, outbursts, and aggression
- Withdrawn and isolated from others
- React poorly in normal activities that require hand-eye or foot-eye coordination
When is it time to get help?
If you start to repeatedly experience some of the signs and symptoms of stress or if you have difficulties at work that are starting to affect your performance, health, and/or relationships, you should get help.
Workplace stress treatment methods
As work related stress and burnout can bring about or are associated with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, treatments will be more geared towards dealing with these specific issues. Click on the following links for specific treatment methods:
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
Left unaddressed, work related stress can result in serious and debilitating consequences on your physical and mental wellbeing. Aside from addressing the psychological symptoms and issues that you are experiencing, our therapists will also help you to:
- review your stressors and stress responses;
- strengthen your resiliency and skills to deal with stress; and
- explore strategies and follow-up actions to address any unmanageable work demands or difficulties.
It is also important to consult with your physician to rule out any medical conditions that might be affecting your mood or attend to any health consequences that might have been prompted or aggravated by your work situation.
Please contact us to learn more about how we can help you to alleviate stress caused by your workplace.