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The physical and mental signs of continuous stress

What is Stress?

Stress is something that we all experience at some point in our lives. When we feel stressed, we develop a reaction of being overwhelmed, unable to cope with our situation.

There are lots of things that can trigger feelings of stress within the body and mind – a sudden change in circumstances, unexpected events, a loss of control over our situation and, more commonly, an increased and unmanageable workload.

The human body is actually designed to deal with small amounts of stress, producing stress hormones that are often referred to as the ‘fight or flight’ response. At times, this can create a positive situation – the increased energy within the nervous system allows for extended focus and motivation to combat sudden changes in stress levels. Long-term, prolonged periods of stress, however, can have a detrimental impact on both our physical and mental health and our ability to perform within the workplace.

Physical signs of continual stress

Broken sleep and insomnia, waking up several times during the night, inability to get back to sleep or inability to sleep at all. 

Aches and pains, feelings of tension within the muscles throughout the body and a clenched jaw.

Frequent headaches and dizziness.

An increased heart rate and high blood pressure

Digestive issues, feelings of nausea and acid reflux.

Mental and emotional signs of continual stress

Lack of focus, daydreaming.

Feelings of anxiety and panic attacks.

Feelings of negativity, depression and sadness.

Irrational outbursts, feelings of anger. 

Other signs that continual levels of stress are having an effect on someone can be within potential unhealthy behaviours that develop in an effort to cope, including controlling food intake (bingeing or depriving yourself of food), increased alcohol intake, smoking, drug use and the development of compulsive behaviours. 

Within the workplace, continual stress can have a detrimental impact on performance. This can include missing deadlines, frequent sick days or repeatedly arriving late for work, constant lethargy, a lack of motivation and being less professional in their conversations with colleagues and clients. 

Ideas to help you manage continual stress in the workplace

Before reacting, take a minute or two to think about your response. Often, high stress levels can be triggered by a perceived lack of control in a situation. Take control by deciding how you are going to respond first. Use your breathing as an anchor by bringing attention to it. This will help you be calm and notice your thoughts rather than reacting to them.

Prioritise your task list, both by deadlines and motivation levels. For example, if you are at your most energetic and awake earlier in the morning, use this time to work on a larger task with a looking deadline. Use the point where you are feeling more tired and less motivated to work on the shorter, easier to achieve tasks. 

Avoid multitasking. The human mind is not designed to be effective at this. Working on one thing at a time ensures that the task is completed efficiently and with full focus before moving onto the next. Where possible, avoid looking at emails while you are in the middle of working on something. Multi tasking includes phone notifications or lots of browsers open too!.

Go for a mindful walk outside at lunchtime. This is a brilliant opportunity to clear your head and refresh your mindset by using your senses to ‘be in your walk’. Remember it’s not supposed to be an opportunity to think of your to do list

Avoid looking at your emails once you have left the workplace. An email has the ability to cause anxiety for the rest of the evening. 

Talk to someone about your stress – talking and expressing how you feel can release some of the tension that builds up inside us when we are stressed. It is surprising just how effective this can be.

Take regular small check in breaks – close your eyes if only for 60 seconds and just focus on your breathing – no judgement here, just notice how it is. Your mind will wander to your day but gently lead it back to your breath. Notice your thoughts and let them go or if you can’t let them go, just let them be there.

Body movement – Yoga is a great way to enable our conscious minds become aware of our body. This means we come out of our thinking mind and focus on the movement and feeling inside our body. When we do this frequently we are are better and sensing our needs and our stresses rather than letting them build up.

Practice mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is such a great way of dealing with stress and anxiety. Our mindfulness meditation sessions bring focus and understanding to our stress levels and really explains how mindful meditation helps. To find out more about our Mindfulness Meditation sessions, visit here: https://wellbeinginyouroffice.com/wellbeing-services/mindfulness-meditation/

Are you experiencing continual feelings of stress? Do you need ways to reduce your stress levels and manage your stress in the workplace? Visit our website here: https://wellbeinginyouroffice.com/

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