Wellbeing - Workplace Stress Awareness

Written on the 20 May 2015

Australians are known for placing great emphasis on work and career. Working hard, however, should not be confused with overworking at the expense of relationships and physical health.

For most of us list work as a significant source of stress, with over half of those recently surveyed by the AMA,  indicating that their work productivity suffers due to stress. Looking fora new job because of stress, is not uncommon.

Job stress is also a concern for employers, costing millions per year through absenteeism, diminished productivity, employee turnover and direct medical, legal and insurance fees.
Stress can significantly affect physical health. The APA survey found three quarters of people have experienced physical symptoms as a result of stress, such as headache, fatigue, and an upset stomach in combination with feelings of irritability, anger, nervousness, and lack of motivation.
The stress people are experiencing comes, in part, from the pressures of today's connected world. Because of e-mail, cell phones and the Internet, we are finding it increasingly difficult to switch off from the stresses of the workplace and concentrate on our personal prioritiesover half of respondents said that job demands interfered with family or home responsibilities.

Increased stress can lead to using unhealthy behaviours such as smoking, comfort eating, poor diet choices, inactivity and drinking alcohol to alleviate stress. These 'avoiders' can lead to long-term, serious health problems,
Here are some more reliable strategies for managing your work-related stress:

Know yourself

Be aware of your stress level and know what stresses you out. People experience stress in different ways. You may have a hard time concentrating or making decisions, feel angry, irritable or out of control, or experience headaches, muscle tension or a lack of energy.

Recognise how you deal with stress

Do you engage in unhealthy behaviours such as smoking, drinking or eating poorly to cope with your stress? Do you lose patience with your children or spouse or co-workers when you feel overwhelmed by work pressures?

Turn off and tune in.

Communication technology can take you to productivity heights never imagined, but it can also allow work to creep into family time, dinner and holidays. Let technology be a tool that works for you, rather than the other way around.

Keep a "To-Do" or "Next Action" list.

Worried that you'll forget something important? Constantly thinking through all the things you need to get done? Clear your head and put those thoughts on paper (or in an electronic task list) by creating a list of work and personal tasks and marking those with the highest priority.

Take short breaks. S

Stay energised and productive by taking a minute or two periodically throughout the day to stand up, stretch, breathe deeply and shake off the accumulating tension.
Take a 10-15 minute break every few hours to recharge and avoid the temptation to work through lunch. The productivity you gain will more than make up for the time you spend on break.

Find healthy ways to manage stress.

Work to replace unhealthy coping strategies, such as eating junk food, smoking or drinking alcohol with healthy behaviours, like exercise, meditation or talking with friends and family. Some behaviors are very difficult to change and may require the help of a licensed professional such as a psychologist.

Take care of yourself.

Eat right, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and engage in regular physical activity. Take regular holidays or mini-breaks. No matter how hectic life gets, make time for yourself-even if it's just simple things like reading a good book, listening to your favorite music or enjoying a leisurely Sunday brunch at your favorite café.

Ask for professional support.

Accepting help from supportive friends and family can improve your ability to manage stress. Your employer may also have stress management resources available through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), including online information, available counseling and referral to mental health professionals, if needed.


If you continue to feel overwhelmed by work stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist, who can help you better manage stress and change unhealthy behaviour.

Courtesy of Wellness Proposals

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