Know the signs to combat workplace stress

 

stress level conceptual meter indicating maximum

So, you’ve been out of college for a year now, going on countless interviews looking for your dream job and now you’ve got it!

You’re on your path to changing the world and want to prove that you’re a hard worker. So, you figure that right out of the gate, you’re going to give it everything you’ve got.

Stay late every night for a week? Sure! Work weekends? Sign me up!

These are all admirable qualities in a new hire but if you’re not careful, you may find yourself biting off more than you can chew and quickly becoming burnt out.

A study published in May by the nonprofit organization, Families and Work Institute, found that out of over 1,000 respondents, 28% often or very often felt overworked while 28% reported feeling overwhelmed.

While occasionally staying at work late or working through the weekend is acceptable, and sometimes even mandatory, making this a habit can have adverse health effects.

A study published in 2014 by The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, found that those who worked more than 55 hours per week–both men and women–had a 13% greater risk of a heart attack.

The same study found that those who worked 55 hours per week were 33% percent more likely to suffer a stroke than those who worked 35-40 hours per week.

But considering that it’s common to have periods of stress at work, how do you notice the red flags that the effort may not be worth it anymore?

Dr. John Ballard, a psychologist at The American Psychological Association, says these signs may suggest that you’re burnt out at work and need a change.

  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Slip in Job Performance/In Hygiene
  • Being Preoccupied With Work Outside of Work

Other side effects, according to Business Insider, include:  

  • Irritability towards coworkers/customers
  • Responding to questions about your job with one-word answers
  • Feeling liberated after a Friday at work
  • Dreading every Monday morning

stress level conceptual meter indicating maximumSo, what can you do to reduce or eliminate burn out?

  • Figure out what’s causing the burn out: Has your workload increased while your resources to handle the increase haven’t?
  • Talk with your boss to reassess your responsibilities and resources: If more responsibility has been handed to you but the resources haven’t then talk to your supervisor to see if any resources e.g. people; can be spared.
  • Take breaks: According to fastcompany.com, taking a break every 50-90 minutes rejuvenates your mind, helping you to continue focusing on a task once you’ve come back to it.
  • Get a solid 8 hours of sleep: The quickest way to burn yourself out is to frequently come into work already exhausted.
  • Plan ahead: If you have a big project coming up, split it up into smaller tasks so that it’s easier to manage and can be completed on time or a few days early.

References:

Baer, D. (19 June 2013). Why you need to unplug every 90 minutes. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/3013188/why-you-need-to-unplug-every-90-minutes

Dr. John Ballard qtd. in Lisa M. Gerry. (1 April, 2013). 10 signs you’re burning out — and what to do about it. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/04/01/10-signs-youre-burning-out-and-what-to-do-about-it/#15dbefc2625b

Families and Work Institute qtd. by ABC News. (16 May, 2017). Study: U.S. workers burned out. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93295&page=1

Gillett, R. (23 June 2016). 25 signs you’re burned out at work. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/signs-youre-burned-out-at-work-2016-6/#-1

Kivimaki, M., Jokela, M. & Nyberg, T. Solja et. al as qtd. in John Ross. (14 December 2015). Only the overworked die young. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/only-the-overworked-die-young-201512148815stress level conceptual meter indicating maximum

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