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Surviving stress at work

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Your mobile phone won't stop ringing, your inbox is overflowing and deadlines are piling up. You're working longer hours and there seems no end to the increasing demands on you. Fed up and feeling undervalued and unappreciated, you struggle to remember why you liked your job in the first place. Sound familiar?

Spend a reasonable amount of time in the lunchroom of many workplaces and chances are you will hear staff talking about feeling 'stressed out'.

One reason for this is that many workers feel they have very little control over their work lives. Workplace stress, like other forms of stress, occurs when people feel they are not able to meet the demands placed on them. A report into workplace stress (published by private health insurer Medibank Private) found people are more likely to experience high levels of stress at work when they are placed under pressure, in terms of workload and responsibility, but feel they are unable to meet their deadlines or control their output.Another reason we're feeling stressed is that figures suggest many people are working hard, or at least long hours.

Long working hours, insufficient breaks, lack of resources and unrealistic deadlines all contribute to workplace stress. As can relationships with co-workers and managers, especially if these relationships involve conflict, harassment or bullying.

But each of us responds to these stressors differently. So a work environment that just makes one person feel a little uptight, might push another person to breaking point.

There are, however, certain factors that can put you at greater risk of experiencing workplace stress, burnout or psychological injury.

Unfortunately, people do miss the early warning signs that they are stressed.

But there are some warning signs that tell you heading towards the upper end of the stress scale, these can include:

Other red flags include: poor performance at work, avoiding family or friends and adopting maladaptive coping strategies (such as drinking too much or using drugs).

Stress can also manifest as new physical ailments or a worsening of existing conditions.

And while you will often need the help of your workplace to turn things around, there are some strategies that might help improve your wellbeing and ability to cope with stress. These can include:

From ABC Health & Wellbeing

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