A survey carried out by Stress.org found that as many as 83% of workers suffered from some form of workplace related stress. 25% of these said that it affected their ability to carry out their jobs on a day to day basis.
It’s fair to say a little bit of pressure in the office (or wherever you work) can be good for you. It can keep you on your toes and make sure you’re motivated to do your best. However, there can be a tipping point when the amount of pressure becomes too much and the resulting stress impacts your daily life and your health outside the workplace.
The signs and symptoms of work-related stress and anxiety can vary according to the way you respond to stress, and also your personality type. The most common symptoms include brain fog, inability to concentrate, anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. These symptoms will occur in the workplace and can leave you feeling as though you’re unable to cope and that you can’t do your job. Often, the opposite is true!
For many people, it can be difficult to open up and admit to struggling or finding it hard to cope. It comes as no surprise that many people worry that their employer will think less of them, or that their boss might think they’re unfit to do their job.
There are many practical steps you can take away from work. A good, practical self-care routine can offer huge benefits. Self-care means many different things to many people. It can be something as simple as a warm, relaxing bath every night with calming essential oils, followed by TV and a good book - through to a challenging exercise routine that leaves you feeling tired but happy and in a better position to sleep. However you want to do it, it’s important that you take time every single day to focus on something that isn’t work-related and can bring you happiness and joy.
How to talk to your employer
A really good, caring employer will have all the right procedures in place, including statutory sick pay and access to counselors. Some employers now offer Workplace Wellness courses or activities which are designed for everyone to come together, socialize and encourage good health and positive communication.
If you’re really struggling, speak to the people you work with, and explain how you feel. Be calm, be as confident as you can, and explain how the situation is affecting you. Be honest about your symptoms and let your employer know that you want to work with them to sort the situation out. Open communication channels work best.
In some cases, it may be necessary to look at taking legal action against an employer who hasn’t responded in the correct way, or used the right procedures to help you. Work-related trauma and PTSD is something that many lawyers are now helping clients with and although it may not be needed, it’s worth reading up on just in case.
One final thing to note is that one word. No. Saying ‘No’ to things we don’t want to do at work, or that are pushing us out of our comfort zone can actually be very liberating and freeing. Not only that, it sets a boundary and lets your employer know that you can’t or won’t be bullied or pushed into doing things you’re not comfortable with.