Early Symptoms of workplace stress overload
Between 2015 and 2016, stress at work accounted for 37% of all work-related ill health cases. It was also responsible for 45% of all working days lost due to ill health.
The ironic side of work stress is that you might be experiencing a lot of mental and physical strain at work and not consider it anything to worry about. Stress builds up over a period of time and there are signs you should look out for to avoid working your way into anxiety and depression. Below are 6 signs that tell you it is time to address the problem of work stress.
Do you sleep late or experience problems sleeping?
Are you at that point where you find yourself taking your work home? This might be a direct result of the sheer volume of unfinished tasks on your desk. This is how work stress begins. When sleeping is no longer as easy as it used to be for you, this is a sign of stress at work.
The more stress you go through, the more psychological strain will continue to build. You will eventually find yourself staying up late into the night much more often than you used to.Sometimes, you stay up to work. At other times, you might stay up watching TV. Regardless of the kind of day you have had, you still find yourself staying up late. This is similar to what students who read late into the night experience after exams; they find themselves unable to switch back into their original sleep cycle.
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Is your passion for your work on a decline?
Your dwindling interest and passion for your work should not come as a surprise. This is one of the many ways stress at work manifests. At this stage, you are completely indifferent to tasks assigned to you. The meticulous touch that characterised your work in the past goes missing.
Another thing that suffers greatly is your creativity as well as your level of productivity. What you should consider even more worrisome than the signs you are already experiencing is that stress of this type takes a long time to control. As if this isn’t bad enough, it also takes a long time to revive your interest in the job.
When this goes on unchecked, a lot of your output becomes untidy and predictably below your previous standard.
Are you becoming socially withdrawn and depressed?
Have you been stressed out to the point where you realise you have not checked your Facebook in weeks? It also dawns on you that the same applies to your Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat accounts. This happens when you get really stressed at work.
If this continues long enough, you would eventually withdraw from conversations with colleagues. You might also find yourself snapping at your colleagues when they try to get your input on certain tasks. Of course, this will not be intentional but it could happen. You also find yourself focusing a lot of your time on working on a growing list of unfinished tasks.
The biggest irony of this is that despite all the effort you are constantly putting into completing your tasks, you still are not getting the desired result. This eventually opens up the gates of depression. Your supervisors and manager will eventually notice this trend and questions will be asked around your capacity to get the job done. Ultimately, your competence might eventually get questioned depending on the type of team lead or manager you work with or report to.
Have you begun experiencing frequent headaches?
When you force your body into more workload than it should be saddled with, your mental wellness will pay dearly. Frequent headaches and a slight feeling of fever are both signs that you are caught in the web of work stress.
You will experience this feeling at different times of the day; it could be just before an early lunch or sometime in the evening. The earlier you discover this sign, the better for your well being.
Drifting off to sleep right in the middle of a task
Have you gotten to that point where you sleep off while trying to open an email and reawaken after 4-10 seconds? This is a sign that your body has been pushed to the extreme.
Different employers have varying views of sleeping while on duty. Some companies have instituted policies to allow employees to take napping breaks during the workday. This is expected to improve the employee’s productivity. However, other employers are strict when dealing with employees who sleep while on duty and go as far as using high-tech means; such as video surveillance, to catch their employees who may be sleeping on the job.
If you work in an organisation that does not allow napping during working hours, your stress level has a strong inclination to get worse.
Is it getting difficult to concentrate?
When you are overstressed at work, your level of concentration will drop. Soon after this, you might notice that your once trusted memory has suddenly become poor.
What to do
The moment you identify some or all of the signs above, it is a very serious issue and should be treated as such. Strive to manage your health properly for an increased level of productivity at work. To beat stress at work, strive to:
- Reach out to friends and family
- Exercise regularly
- Cut down on sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Moderate alcohol consumption
- Improve the quality of your sleep
- Avoid mentally stimulating activities before bedtime
- Prioritise and organise your work
- Find a balance between work and family life
- Take regular breaks at work
- Don’t fit too many tasks into one day
- Focus on the humour in everything
- Take some time off
Are you currently stressed at work?