Work can be stressful enough, before you take into consideration the impact of the recent pandemic. But what does being stressed mean for your mind and body? And, more importantly, what can you do to reduce your stress levels and improve your well-being?
Workforce stress is a big problem for any business. And there’s been a lot to be worried about in recent times. As our recent 360 Global Well-Being Survey revealed, 32% of the workforce are worried about personal finance, 40% are anxious due to uncertainty in their future and 24% are stressed because of family finance. The changes around us have certainly challenged workforce well-being.
Everyday workforce worries
There aren’t many working environments that haven’t been affected by the recent pandemic. Workers in offices, warehouses, hospitals and shops have all had to deal with the pressure of longer shifts, fewer colleagues on those shifts and the added pressure to meet targets. However, even without a pandemic to contend with, the workplace is often the cause of a huge amount of stress. A workload that feels unmanageable; deadlines; long working hours; unease with the methods of management – there are many scenarios that can lead us to feel stressed at work.
Some of them could be down to a simple lack of clarity, such as misunderstanding your role or the tasks you have to complete. Others are down to a professional mismatch: does your job even reflect what you are good at?
If any of this sounds familiar, then you may also know what this kind of stress can do to your mind and body. When you get those feelings of anxiety and depression, loneliness or a lack of confidence, not to mention mood swings and being short-tempered, the damage it can do to you mentally is significant, but it can also manifest in physical symptoms.
These vary from a lack of energy and exhaustion to stomach aches, chest pains, headaches and nausea. Other knock-on impacts include weight gain – which comes with its own health issues – and even a decreased libido.
What you can do
So, if you recognise any of the above, then you need to take action.
The first thing is communication. Do your problems stem from your relationship with your colleagues, your manager, a mixture of both? Take the time to build your relationship with them, asking questions and sharing your concerns to see how the situation can be improved.
Prioritise your workload. Are you managing your time in the best possible way? Can certain jobs be delegated? If you simply don’t have enough hours in the day, then, again, make time to discuss this with your manager.
Take a break. At times, our work can be so overwhelming, we almost grind to a halt. If that’s happening, take a break – a short stroll to a coffee shop or even just to the kitchen to make a drink. It’ll give your mind a chance to reset and focus more clearly on the task at hand.
Keep a healthy work-life balance – ensuring you still find time for friends and family is essential to mental well-being. And, as they’re likely to be removed from your work situation, they can also help you with painting a true picture of your working environment.
Needless to say, reducing stress is also helped when you do the basics right in your daily routine: eating healthily, exercising and ensuring you get enough sleep.