What is work-related stress disorder?

Work-related stress occurs due to the demands of your work exceeding your ability to cope. According to BUPA, almost 12 million working days are lost each year because of perceived work-related stress, and stress can contribute to such conditions as anxiety or depression. Work-related stress can also be known as burn-out. 

Stress is subjective and can manifest in different ways depending on the person. 

If you feel as though you are suffering from work-related stress, it’s important you maintain healthy communication between yourself and your line or human resources manager. Although this may cause you to feel anxious, awkward and embarrassed, remember that most workplaces have a legal obligation to offer care and support for their employees.  Reputable and professional workplaces will be aware of stress-related issues, and most good workplaces will have policies and procedures in line to support you. This is likely to include seeking advice from a GP.

If you feel as though your work-related stress is causing you serious mental health problems, your GP may advise you to seek further treatment.

Nightingale Hospital’s team of highly qualified professionals can work with you to assess the root of your stress, identify any potential co-existing conditions and work with you to manage your difficulties.

Symptoms of work-related stress disorder

People can experience a range of symptoms of work-related stress disorder. 

Emotional symptoms of work-related stress disorder may include:

  • The feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Difficulty coping
  • Dreading going to work
  • Finding it hard to concentrate and manage tasks
  • Feeling disappointed with yourself
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Mood swings

Physical symptoms of work-related stress disorder can include:

  • Tiredness or lack of energy
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhoea or constipation
  • Headache
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Loss of sleep

Behavioural symptoms of work-related stress disorder can include:

  • Increase in absenteeism or sick days
  • Aggression
  • Loss of creativity or motivation
  • Interpersonal relationship problems
  • Loss of patience
  • Isolation

Causes of work-related stress include:

Causes of work-related stress can vary but tend to revolve around key themes including demands, relationships and change.

Some causes can include:

  • Long working hours
  • Poor working conditions
  • Issues or friction with colleagues or management
  • Change of management
  • Bad management
  • Job insecurity
  • Don’t receive enough support or information
  • Inexperience
  • Don’t fully understand their role and responsibilities
  • Being in the wrong role for your skills, experience and abilities

Tips on how to help yourself with work-related stress

By recognising what makes you stressed, you can work to control your feelings and get back to positive and productive work life.

  • Learn to say ‘no’ if you can’t take on extra workloads at the moment. Have a respectful and valid reason why this is the case
  • Try and work consistent hours. Don’t overwork and remember to take your entitled time off work
  • Maintain a good work-life balance. It’s important to make time for the things you are passionate about outside of work – whether it be spending time with loved ones, cooking, travelling or reading
  • Exercise is vital for overall physical and mental health. Not only does it release endorphins, but it is also natural combat against stress
  • Foster positive working relationships with your colleagues, this will make work more enjoyable for all
  • Eat a balanced diet and don’t consume too much alcohol throughout the week. Also, make sure you are getting a healthy number of hours of sleep a night
  • Practice mediation techniques for mindfulness and relaxation – such as yoga or meditation. There are plenty of apps available to assist with this
  • Be open with your employer if you are struggling – speak to your line manager or HR representative

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Work-related stress

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