Stress at work is a reality for thousands of employees in France. Understanding the sources of discomfort and learning to manage stress at work will make it possible to fight more effectively against this daily poison.
Not that precarious work is a new element of our century, but threatening unemployment makes people cling to their work, even in unsatisfactory conditions. Flexibility is often required on the part of the employee who must adapt to see-saw rhythms.
Thus, pressure surges for an important project or a delay in deadlines and a conflict with a colleague or a strained relationship with his boss … are all daily factors that promote stress at work.
Stress often comes from a mismatch between the demands of the work to be done and the resources (time, good health, material comfort, collaborators) available to the person concerned. When the demands are too heavy, we become more receptive to stress.
It should note that the concept, the feeling of “stress” differs according to the people: each one is different vis-a-vis the stress. Just as the causes of stress at work will be different for everyone, not everyone will react. Also, the definition of stress remains rather vague and subjective.
But whatever the individual tolerance to stress: the tensions felt or suffered, which can be manifested in several ways, can act on the emotions and lead to behavioural and even physical disorders. Therefore, it is important not to get caught up in the spiral of professional stress, but to stay active and react.
Because yes, there are solutions!
If you suffer from a stressful situation at work, know that the attending physician and the occupational physician’s opinions are essential.
If necessary a consultation with a psychologist or psychiatrist can also help. Different methods (such as behavioural therapy ) can indeed be proposed and act on the causes and manifestations of stress.
There are even consultations concerning suffering at work in occupational disease services. In this article, start by understanding the causes and origins of your work stress. Also, analyze your possible problems with the hierarchy and colleagues to consider the different solutions to get out of them.
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Symptoms And Consequences Of Stress
Not everyone has the same resistance to different forms of stress. Also, the latter can manifest itself in different ways. That said, some typical symptoms often surface in stressful situations. And prolonged stress can certainly have harmful consequences for health.
As with any other external aggression, stress, when it becomes chronic, generates certain “imbalances” in the organism. In particular, this secretes substances such as cortisol, which in the long run causes different symptoms: increase in blood pressure, weakening of muscles and tendons, risk of diabetes, etc.
Some signs should alert:
- Emotional manifestations: nervousness, anxiety, sadness, crying attacks.
- Behavioural disorders: change in eating habits, isolation.
- Physical manifestations: stomach pain, joint pain, digestive disorders, unusual sweating.
Often faced with these disorders, the first reflex is to resort to “dopants”: coffee, vitamin C, magnesium, or sometimes even other products (drugs, illicit substances). These “measures” are not a solution to stress. And even less the use of tobacco or alcohol which may, on the contrary, worsen the situation.
When the stress at work becomes too heavy, the best is to consult your doctor and the occupational doctor. You have to avoid minimizing your problems, denying them, and closing in on yourself, at the risk of sinking further. In a dramatic way!
We have already mentioned that stress at work is far from being a purely “professional” problem: it affects our intimate personality. It can have a considerable impact not only on our professional performance but also on our private life and health.
Thus, a one- time stress stroke can cause physical symptoms, such as a flushing of the face, an acceleration of the heart or a higher sugar level in the blood.
In the long run, chronic stress can lead to much more serious consequences:
- High tension,
- An increased risk of diabetes,
- The weakening of muscles and tendons,
- Of sleep disorders,
- Pain and stiffness
- Digestive disorders ( bloating, diarrhoea, stomach aches )
- Libido disturbances,
- Dermatological problems ( psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, eczema ).
Also come all the disorders of a psychological nature, such as anxiety attacks or depression, or even suicide. The tension at work pushes some towards aggressiveness, susceptibility.
The medical officers are trying to identify signs of stress among employees to avoid a crisis or a real depression. Repeated absences or late arrivals, aggressiveness, variations in weight, stomach aches, a lump in the throat can be all alarm bells.
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The different forms of Stress
It would be illusory to want to resist all forms of stress at work! Just as we cannot meet all imaginable needs, no one can resist all forms of stress at the same time:
- Working more than 10 hours without getting tired
- Doing two tasks at the same time
- Being a leader
of a team, consensual, serene in the face of an unpleasant leader, etc.
All these qualities do not exist in the same person! It is also unfair to say that some employees resist stress, unlike others, who will then be considered weak or poorly performing. There are different forms of stress, and some employees are made to resist such and such a form of stress, and others capable of resisting such other form.
Consider a well-known stressor: the unknown. Everyone apprehends a new situation in a certain way. But even in the face of this classic stressor, we are not all the same, because everyone reacts according to what he is deep inside: more or less anxious, optimistic, open to change, comfortable with things. ‘other people, good at working in groups, etc.
Example: A new team leader arrives, preceded by a reputation as a perfectionist:
- In an anxious employee, this causes a stress reaction: “I am afraid that this new manager will not find me competent enough”.
- An optimistic employee thinks rather: “I’m going to show him that he can trust me”.
What is stimulating (a challenge) can be anxious (source of stress) for the other.
Analyze your Stress
It is, therefore, up to everyone to analyze what puts them under stress at work. Depending on the answers, each employee will be better able to identify the origin of the problem, define whether or not he occupies a position that corresponds to his personality, or see which points he can, for example, do personal work…
Before establishing a plan of action, it is important to assess the situation well honestly (no inappropriate pride or exaggerated modesty).
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Stress At Work: Here Is The Solution
To find solutions to prevent stress from becoming so heavy daily that it makes us unhappy, it is essential to identify the cause (s) of stress at work to balance one’s work!
Moreover, there is no miracle solution, nor a single solution: because each job provides more or less reward, requires more or less effort, offers more or less social support, etc.
For example, a salesperson in a department store has a physically demanding job requiring being available and diplomatic. The working conditions may have deteriorated over time (the salary has decreased, the objectives have increased). But if the salesperson works in a team where he is considered, appreciated by his colleagues, and customers show him that he is doing his job well, he can be satisfied with his work.
Only the employee knows what his work consists of, where it suits him well, and not suit him.
It is also up to everyone to know how to set their limits and say “stop” before it is too late and adopt an action plan or a treatment adapted to their situation and personality.
Once the problems have been identified, we can act on two main axes to control stress at work:
- Change your working environment
- Do some work on yourself
Change the Working Environment
To modify the environment – and therefore the working conditions – which put us in stressful situations, it is important to contact the competent people and bodies: do not hesitate to speak to the person responsible in your work.
Depending on the causes of the stress, it may be possible to find solutions within your company: by asking for additional time, for a larger team, by talking with employees, by consulting the occupational doctor.
In some cases, a change of position, department, even a company or profession can be a solution.
Work on Oneself
The principle seems simple: if we cannot change the environment, we must try to change our perception of and reaction to what is problematic. However, it is obvious that a reaction of panic, anxiety, is the best way to … lose all our means and let ourselves be overwhelmed by stress. The first thing to do is to relax. It is only by relaxing and taking a step back to keep your thoughts clear and find the resources needed to deal with the situation.
Relaxation to Increase your Resistance to Stress
Different relaxation techniques can help fight the typical symptoms of a stressful situation (beating heart, quickening breathing, tightening muscles). Because besides the fact that these symptoms are unpleasant to live, they especially prevent us from controlling the situation – on the contrary!
Among these methods, physiological or psychological relaxation techniques, we can mention sophrology, hypnosis, yoga, meditation.
But the two main relaxation techniques (physical) used around the world. Two simple and effective methods to relax mentally and physically. It is up to everyone to see which method is beneficial and easy to practice daily.
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