Work Stress: Save the lives of your staff and your business!

Did you know that more heart attacks and sudden deaths occur on a Monday than on any other day of the week?

Although more concrete research is needed, anticipation of stress and anxiety of returning to work could be contributing factors for these findings.

So what it stress?

Work-related stress, depression or anxiety is defined as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work. In 2014/15 stress was accounted for 35% of all work-related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.

What does stress do to your body?

  • Stress can interfere with sleep and appetite.
  • When you perceive a situation to be stressful your body releases hormone cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline), which prepare your body for flight or fight response.
  • In turn, these hormones releases more sugar and fat.
  • Over the period of time, your immunity is affected.
  • Your body starts the inflammatory process.

Ultimate results?

Employees who are experiencing work-related stress are more prone to chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, frequent infection and even heart attack. The effect on the employer?
Employees may stop taking lunch breaks or alienate themselves from others thus impacting team relations. They may make mistakes in their work which could cost the business time and money.
Loss of productivity and loss of key staff members will lead to increased sickness absence.

7 tips for individuals to reduce work place stress

Become aware of the triggers

Identify the triggers to your stress. Is communication with your annoying manager or your colleague stressful to you? Are you stressed when you have to give presentations or have to deal with a particular client? Now understand your response to the situation. Is the situation or response in your control? If not then letting it go can be the best coping strategy.

Observe your body

When you feel stressed observe what happens to your body. Do your muscles tighten up, does your neck feel tense? Does your breathing become shallow? Intentionally shift your physiology by taking 10 deep
breaths or leave the situation and take 10 minutes short walk.

Control your thinking

Journaling your thoughts in a response to a stressful situation will help to identify unhelpful thoughts which produce unpleasant feelings and behavior. A professional can help you with techniques such
as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness to change dysfunctional thoughts.

Learn to say ‘NO’

Excess demand and less time or skill can often be overwhelming and lead to stress response. If you really feel that demands placed on you are beyond your capabilities realise that it is ok to say ‘NO’.

Take a step back, relax and reflect

The definition of relaxation is different for everyone so find the best method that suits your style; whether it is mindfulness, meditation, yoga or simply listening to music. Find out how your body responds to the various techniques.

Resolve inner conflict and connect with your soul

Occasionally stress arrives from misalignment between your work and your unique vision and passion.
Take an honest look at your situation, seek help with your manager professional and change the situation or else any other strategy will not be useful in removing the stress.

Seek professional help

If the above strategies do not produce results, seek the help of a health professional. Creating a tailor made a solution for you and your organization will ensure that you create a happy work environment in
which your employees have the health and creativity to produce an epic workplace.

Pranita Salunke

Vitality Health Clinic. Occupational Therapist, MSc Preventive Cardiology Vitality Health Clinic conducts a series of Stress Management workshops for various organisations. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have.