Recognising stress in others

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April 29, 2020

Liz Sebag-Montefiore

Girl stressed in packed town

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.

Physical Behavioural Thinking Emotional
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

 

Talking helps

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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