The fast-approaching Summer Holidays are supposed to be relaxing. With continuing uncertainty over COVID, will you or won’t you contract it whilst away? Not being able to get away where you want to due to strikes, the school holidays, plus working from home, there is no surprise our stress levels may rise in summer. As you and, your work colleagues and your teams start to take holidays, now is a good time to think about how you support your teams and, it might be more stressful this year, and what are the signs of stress you should be looking out for?
Stress is our emotional and physical response to pressure. That pressure can arise from external factors including life events, illness, living conditions, work, home, and family, or the demands we place on ourselves.
As things are opening up, the impact of working remotely and moving to Hybrid Working can impact on all of these external factors, especially if you don’t have the right mechanisms in place to support your people. Take a look at our checklist if you’d to take a further look at what actions you might want to take to support your team’s Wellbeing and Health and Safety. Hybrid Working – Is your Business fully prepared? – SYLO Beyond HR.
The effects of too much stress:
Too much stress can affect our mood, our body, and our relationships – especially when it feels out of our control. It can make us feel anxious and irritable and affect our self-esteem. Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period of time can also lead to a feeling of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion often called burnout.
How to recognize stress in yourself or others:
Working from home during summer can increase stress levels, but there are many different factors that contribute towards it and can manifest itself through thought processes, feelings, physical sensations, and behaviours. Here are some examples:
You may have (or hear) thoughts such as:
- ‘This is too much – I can’t cope!’
- ‘It’s unfair. Someone should be helping me.’
- ‘I haven’t got enough time.’
- ‘I’ll never finish.’
- ‘I must get this done.’
These thoughts can then manifest in behaviours of bad-temperedness, anxiety, impatience, anger, depression, feeling hopeless, overwhelmed, exhausted, and isolated.
People may experience physical sensations such as faster breathing, tense muscles, feeling hot/sweaty, headaches, difficulty in concentrating, feeling agitated, and having bladder or bowel problems.
They may also see displayed the following behaviours such as forgetfulness, being unable to settle, constantly busy, rushing about, having lots of tasks on the go but not finishing them, signs of sleep disturbance, shouting or arguing, eating more (or less), drinking/smoking/using drugs more to cope, feeling the urge to cry, sighing more frequently and withdrawing from friends and colleagues.
These types of thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and behaviours can carry on over from family life into work-life and vice versa. Below are tips on how you can manage, or help others deal with stress in the workplace, so it doesn’t leak into other accepts of life.
Tips on dealing with stress and burnout, for either you, a work colleague of someone in your team:
Identify your triggers – this will help you compartmentalize stress causes and make possible solutions easier to identify. Does working from home with childern cause summer-time stress? What can you do in order to draw a boundary between your home and work life?
Focus on what you can control – Write down everything that is filling your headspace. Then ask yourself, what things can you control or influence? By focusing on what you can control, your actions will have an impact. It is simply a waste of your time and energy to focus on things that you cannot control which will leave you feeling demotivated and no further forward in dealing with your challenges.
Challenging thinking errors – Thinking errors are faulty patterns of thinking that are self-defeating. They occur when the things you are thinking do not match up with reality. For example, you find you are making a mountain out of a molehill or that you are confusing your perception of things over facts and reality. A stressful mind is much more susceptible to thinking errors so it helps to be aware of them when they happen.
Think of things you can do differently, or you can suggest to someone else:
|Feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done||Split up big tasks by breaking them down into easier chunks and give yourself credit for completing them.|
|Feelings of isolation and/or loneliness||Reach out to your trusted friends, family, and colleagues. Contacting a helpline can also help us when we are struggling.|
|Feelings of exhaustion, anxiety, burnout||Take some time out, do something that will help relax and unwind you. Being active can help you to burn off nervous energy. It will not make your stress disappear, but it can make it less intense.|
|Feelings of frustration, depression, anger, irritability
|Take time to think about the good things in your life. Each day, consider what went well and try to list 3 things you are thankful for. How we think affects the way we feel – if you tend to have more of a negative outlook on things, it may be time to challenge the way you think.|
Above all, effective counseling can really help people successfully manage their individual challenges whether they are personal or work-related. For more information about our counseling service, please contact us or call us on: 01844 216290