International Stress Awareness Day 2021

Article by Kat Lourenco

International Stress Awareness Day 2021

**International Stress Awareness Week**
**International Stress Awareness Day**

The HSE defines stress as: "The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demands at work".

Work stress + home life stress + affects of Covid-19 = people that are really struggling right now.

There are many different angles to look at how stress may affect your/your peers and loved ones. Today's post will focus on the iceberg model: looking at conditioning and beliefs.

A colleague may be unable to let you know they're feeling stressed. Let's look at what the thinking process may be to understand why people may not let peers/line managers know they're not OK.

Because of their conditioning and beliefs they could be thinking:
"I have to manage, whatever the workload"
"I'll feel weak if I speak up that I'm struggling to cope and need help"
"Is it just me? Others seem to manage and are chirpy"

From an organisational cultural perspective:
"You're a manager…so manage it"
"Don't bring your personal life into work"
"You need to be a team player"

Continually being in a stressed state constantly stimulates the chemicals in the body. This may result in symptoms of, or cause, ill health. How do you know when someone is stressed when they don't speak up?

People exhibiting signs of stress, will become less productive and effective in the workplace and personal life. Here are a few indicators of too much pressure and you see a change in behaviour (the top of the iceberg):
* Inability to concentrate/make simple decisions
* Less intuitive and creative
* Irritable
* Extra sensitive to having their work critiqued
* Angry and/or frustrated
* Lack of confidence and self-esteem
* Frequent colds/infections
* Weight loss or gain
* Heart problems/high blood pressure
* Becoming a workaholic
* Absenteeism
* Self-neglect/change in appearance
* Social withdrawal
* Uncharacteristically lying

As a side note to social withdrawal - it becomes harder to notice when a team/peer works remotely. Social withdrawal in remote instances could be that they stop having their camera on during online meetings or frequently fail to turn up to online meetings.

How many symptoms do you have? Or have you seen in the people around you?

Don't rationalise the symptoms away - for yourself or others. Are you able to have a meaningful conversation with someone you know that's struggling? Does your organisation provide you with the skills to coach the people you manage?

If you've answered "no" to the above two questions, you know you should do something different.

Join our free webinar covering elements in the iceberg from a health, safety and wellbeing perspective next month. It could help you decide if our behavioural wellbeing in the workplace coaching programme is right for you/your organisation.

To pre-book your place message Kathryn Lourenço

Article by Kat Lourenco


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