Many of us grow up in a time when little was known about stress and even less about coping with stress at work. We believed we just had to “get on with it” or “work your way through it.” Stress was almost a whispered word that no-one wanted to hear and even fewer would admit they suffered from.
It was either seen as a weakness and should anyone even suggest they were stressed or even labelled as being attention seeking. Thankfully we have moved on from those days but not totally. To some it’s still very much a taboo subject.
Stress is a very real and at time debilitating condition but why is it important to find ways of coping with stress at work? Clearly there are a number of important reasons but one key point to remember is that the effects of stress are both cumulative and contagious. By not dealing with an issue of situation that causes you to fell stress in one aspect of your life, it can and most likely to affect other aspects of your life.
If you are having a problem at work, it is all but impossible to leave this problem at work. Very few of us have that level of control and therefore your family life and social life can also suffer from the stressful situation you are trying to deal with at work. This is where the contagious element kicks in. You may find that those closest to you can have a secondary stress resulting from the stress you are feeling. And so it goes on.
The effects of stress on your physical health are well researched and documented. Hypertension, anxiety attacks, weight gain and loss, depression and many other illnesses are exacerbated by continues and on-going exposure to stress.
So we have stress affecting you, your family, your health and also your ability to perform at work. If you are not coping with stress at work, perhaps not sleeping or suffering from a lack of confidence that stress can bring, ultimately your performance at work will be affected. It is impossible to maintain a high level of concentration and think clearly if you are suffering from prolonged stress.
Is coping with stress at work important them? Undoubtedly and it is equally important to recognise the early stages of stress at work and begin addressing the issues as soon as possible. I have a colleague once who I asked, “Do you ever suffer from stress?” He replied, “No, some things concern me but don’t stress me.” In an ideal world, that’s where we all need to be. It is understandable to be concerned with things that happen at work but when it goes beyond this, that’s when the problems can start.
The point to remember in all this is that you and your health is what’s important here. Stress is as much a physical condition as it is one that affects your mind. Very likely you will be aware of the physical symptoms associated with stress before your conscious mind registers it. And it is a very fine line. A level of stress can create heightened performance but it is knowing and recognising the difference between a level of stress kicking in to aid your performance and that which is boarder line unhealthy. Recognise this and you will be somewhere down the road of coping with stress at work.