Stress Awareness Month has been held every April, since 1992, and is aimed at increasing public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.
Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It is linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems.
As a manager and colleague, recognising that a member of the team may not be coping with the pressures they face is the first step in the proactive management of stress and stress related absence in your team.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of stress vary from person to person, as the experience of stress is very individual and can show up in unpredictable ways, from bursts of aggression to unexplained illness. Symptoms may be directly related to a specific stressful event, such as an argument with a colleague, or may be the result of an accumulation of pressures over time.
The following NHS checklist outlines some signs and symptoms to look out for in others but is not exhaustive, as symptoms will vary. It is not the case that these symptoms are automatically indicative of stress, but if dramatic or persistent and uncharacteristic of the individual in question, it is likely that there may be a problem.
|Headaches||Increased smoking||Poor concentration||Irritability|
|Indigestion/heartburn||Increased use of alcohol||Unable to listen to others||Becoming angry with others too easily|
|Lack of appetite/over eating||Appetite change||Memory lapses||Depressed/tearful|
|Muscular tension/aches & pains||Restlessness/fidgeting||Confusion and disorientation||Frightened|
|Nausea/being sick||Absence||Difficulty making decisions||Worried/anxious-panic attacks|
|Indigestion||Lack of motivation/commitment||Poor planning & task execution||Impatient|
|Dizziness||Increased aggression||Negative/unhelpful thought patterns||Mood swings|
|Palpitations||More prone to accidents||Sleepless||Avoiding contact with others|
|Fatigue||Loss of sense of humour
If you think someone you know isn’t coping with stress, please speak to them. Stress makes people feel isolated, and keeping things bottled up makes it worse. You don’t need to be a stress counsellor, just a good listener – and allowing them to talk things through could help them find a solution to their problems.
At 10Eighty, we believe that managing stress at work matters because happy employees tend to be more productive which means happier clients and an enhanced bottom line. Encourage initiatives that improve wellbeing, and encourage team members to collaborate and communicate. Be sure to encourage individuals to stop and recharge during downtime or lulls in work activity.
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