Several studies have shown that stress at work can lead to extreme depression and work-related suicide, which is also known as the silent death.
A growing number of these cases have been traced to Researchers have linked these suicides to what experts have termed a deterioration of working conditions; with unmanageable workloads and increased job insecurity standing out as the biggest culprits.
How do you know when you are experiencing stress at work? Some of the early triggers you should look out for include headaches, rising blood pressure, pain in the chest and a growing phase of sleeplessness or a disturbed sleeping pattern.
If left to run wild, stress at work can eventually pave the way to extreme mood disorders including anxiety and depression. Would you have expected that the cases of suicide in Nigeria would become so prevalent that hotlines (08062106493 and 08092106493) for suicide cases in Nigeria would need set up? to be put in place?
Despite growing concerns from professionals over workplace stress and the damage it wrecks on career professionals, it is still largely misunderstood and overlooked by a majority of employers in this part of the world.
Unfortunately, work-related suicide is predominantly uncounted in Nigeria, which is why we have shared the 2 incidents below with you.
A 38-Year-Old Technician Faces Stress at Work
In 2007, an employee of a popular car manufacturer, Renault was 38 when he came under stress at work to design a new model of the Renault Laguna. He was given a tight deadline and in his suicide note addressed to his family, he revealed why he took his own life to his family.
“This has nothing to do with you. I can’t go on. This job is too much for me.”
A Senior Manager at La Poste Faces Stress at Work
In 2005, a manager at La Poste, a postal service company reached a point when he could no longer cope with stress at work. Before he killed himself on December 5, 2005, he penned a note that highlighted why he chose to commit suicide.
“My professional activity is the primary cause. It has crushed me and engulfed me to the point where I can no longer see any escape”
What Exactly is Stress at Work?
This phenomenon, also known as workplace stress, is the harmful physical and emotional responses that are triggered when there is a conflict between job demands on the employee and the amount of control such an employee has over meeting these demands.
Ways to Manage Stress at Work
To manage stress, first you must understand what is means and the form it takes – Generally, some types of stress at work are okay especially when they fall under the umbrella of ‘challenges’ and ‘positive stress.’ However, when stress at work comes in a volume that you cannot handle, both mental and physical changes may occur. This is the brand of stress you want to learn how to manage.
Stress at work can be triggered by a single source and in some cases, it can have several origins but the effect on you as an employee can be devastating if not properly managed.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, you sometimes, find yourself caught in a chaotic spiral to meet expectations set for you by your employer.
“The relentless requirement to work at optimum performance takes its toll on job dissatisfaction, employee turnover, reduced efficiency, illness and even death. Absenteeism, illness, alcoholism, “petty internal politics”, bad or snap decisions, indifference and apathy, lack of motivation or creativity are all by-products of an overstressed workplace.”
Below are ways to manage stress at work:
Cultivate Positive Relationships at Work
Don’t underestimate the power of relationships in the workplace. When you find stress at work pushing you to the edge of your threshold, cultivate the habit of sharing your thoughts as a way of getting things off your mind.
You should also develop some level of friendship with your colleagues. It would be impressive if you can get along with everyone but strive to have a circle of friends at work. Try not to detach yourself from everyone at work.
When you feel stressed at work, reach out to your friends at work and they’re bound to have helpful suggestions on the way forward. There’s absolutely nothing wrong in leaning on your friends and family for support when you need it.
Kick Out Your Bad Habits
No one is perfect and that includes you. Are you one of those people who are obsessed with perfection, which leaves you spending too much time on a single task? Now would be a good time to kick out such habits.
Keep your thoughts positive and don’t criticise yourself too harshly over little things. When you find that things are out of your control, don’t beat yourself up over it.
Carve Out Time to Exercise
Exercising has a lot of hidden benefits that help you deal with stress at work. Did you know that exercising lifts your mood, increases your energy and helps you sharpen your focus?
Your daily goal should be 30 minutes of activity. Try to be sincere with your exercise goals. To release some stress, go for walks.
Organise and Prioritise Your Tasks
It’s not okay to just delve into your work without organising and prioritising your tasks. It’s important that you plan regular breaks into your day at work.
Consider prioritising the most important tasks for the earlier part of the day. You can also delegate some of your tasks especially if you are in a position to do so.
Avoid Staying Up All Night
Do you have a habit of staying up late into the night? This has to change. Your sleeping goal should be to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every night.
To enjoy better sleep, turn off all screens 1 hour before you go to bed.
Shoot For Work-Life Balance
Your entire life does not revolve around waking up, going to work, closing, returning home and repeating the cycle over and over again. Work/Life balance is an essential part of dealing with stress at work.
Work-life helps you strike proper prioritization of your work (career and ambition) and your lifestyle (health, pleasure, leisure, family). Regardless of how demanding your job is, learn to detach yourself from work to achieve a balance and to restore your vitality.
Eat Nutritious Meals
The food you eat also plays a role in how you deal with stress at work. Avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine. You should also cut down your sugar consumption. This helps you avoid bouts of energy crashing.
Not everything that tag stress is bad. Stress is partly what you have to deal with a partly how you respond to it. Sometimes, stress provides you with the motivation you need to accomplish your goals at work.
This brand of stress helps you overcome obstacles by pushing you to meet your deadlines, sales targets, production targets and finding new clients. What you should avoid is too much stress and this is mainly because of its negative impact.
When you begin to experience consistent exhaustion, frustration or dissatisfaction at work, you are experiencing the negative side of stress.