When we feel constantly under pressure we could be experiencing work related stress and we might need to think about managing the stress caused by work.
It can be normal to feel under pressure at times. For instance, the pressure of an important presentation, heavy workloads or tight deadlines can contribute to feelings of stress, but these examples are usually temporary and the stress goes away when the pressure stops.
When we experience constant work related stress, we start to dread work. We countdown to the weekend and Sunday evenings bring a feeling of dread in the pit of our stomach as another working week is about to start.
Stress can be due to an on-going, particularly tough time at work. For instance, having to deliver difficult messages such as redundancy notices, or worry about losing your job. Relationships at work can cause us to feel stressed; a demanding boss, worrying about making a mistake or a team colleague who you just don’t get along with. Self-employed people can have similar stress, for example a reduction in client demand, customers outstanding bills or the soaring costs of materials.
Work related stress is a common issue that can deteriorate into anxiety.
How might I feel?
Common signs and symptoms of work-related stress can include:
- mood swings
- being withdrawn
- loss of motivation
- loss of confidence
- increased emotional reactions – being more tearful, sensitive or defensive
- Taking work home with you and physically or emotionally being unable to switch off
- Disturbed sleep
What do other people say about it?
Clients often describe a feeling of being overwhelmed by a never-ending to-do list. In addition, unrealistic sales targets and short timescales to deliver work can add to stress. Clients often feel very stressed about delivering presentations, their annual appraisal or a performance meeting with their boss.
They say they look for reasons not to go to work, often feeling unwell, either due to the stress itself or lack of sleep impacting on their immune systems.
Some clients say they struggle to say ‘no’ at work when asked to do a task or piece of work. They worry about their reputation, even though they know they are already creaking under the weight of the tasks they have to do.
Ways in which work related stress could affect me…
Anxiety and stress can result in short temperedness which can put a strain on relationships. This results in feeling guilty that we have maybe snapped at family, children or friends or said something that we wish we hadn’t.
If sleep is affected, we can feel constantly exhausted, lack energy and feel demotivated.
Self Help, what can I do to manage work related stress?
It can help to write down the things about work that are worrying you. Try to focus on the things that you can control. Talk to your manager or colleague about how you are feeling, sometimes adjustments can be made to help with pressure and reduce stress levels.
Making time to rest and breathing or relaxation techniques can help – see our self-help guides for some ideas
How can we support you…?
Acting early can reduce the impact of pressure and make it easier to find ways to manage, reduce or remove the causes.
We have counsellors who are experts in supporting clients with these issues. Often work-related stress goes hand in hand with worry and getting support can help you feel more in control, and help you to relax and sleep better.