Bust your stress
Ever experienced the Sunday evening, back-to-work-on-Monday blues? Most working people probably have. But for one in six of us who suffers stress, depression or anxiety, work can be a very difficult place to manage.
Workplace stress is widespread nowadays and was estimated to cause 35% of all ill-health related cases – and 43% of working days lost to ill-health in 2014-15**. Common causes of stress at work, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), are work demands, lack of control, lack of support, work relationship problems (such as workplace bullying), lack of clarity about role or responsibilities and the impact of change.
Are you stressed? The HSE sets out some common signs of stress that sufferers may recognise:
Behaviour – you may find it hard to sleep, change your eating habits, drink or smoke heavily, avoid friends and family, or have sexual problems.
Physical symptoms – may include tiredness, indigestion/nausea, headaches, palpitations or aching muscles.
Mentally – you may be more indecisive, find it hard to concentrate, suffer loss of memory or have feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem.
Emotionally – according to HSE, if you’re stressed, you’re likely to get irritable or angry, be anxious, feel numb, be hypersensitive, or feel drained and listless.
What’s the answer?
If you’re concerned about workplace stress or your general mental wellbeing, there are a number of things you can do. The key is not to be embarrassed as you are certainly not alone – and, of course, the workplace is not the only place where we can feel stressed. People entering or in retirement can also be vulnerable, due to a change in routine, the perceived loss of challenge and lowered self-esteem.
1. The ‘Moodzone’ section of the NHS website includes self-assessment tool which can help you determine whether you’re stressed, anxious or depressed. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/mood-self-assessment.aspx
2. Moodzone also includes a number of suggestions on how to reduce stress. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/reduce-stress.aspx
3. If you feel your problems are getting on top of you, arrange to see your GP as soon as possible.
4. Benenden members can call the 24/7 Psychological Wellbeing Helpline 0800 414 8247 from the UK or +44 800 414 8247 from abroad. Calls are free from UK landlines and you’ll speak to a qualified therapist. Benenden can also consider funding face-to-face therapy once you have been a member for six months.
**Heath and Safety Executive http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress/index.htm