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Stress and Mental Health – An Introduction

Series on Mental Health
1. Stress and Mental Health – An Introduction
2. Stress and Burnout in a Workaholic Society
3. Stress, E-mails, and Going Back to Basics
4. Back to Basics: Phones and conference calls
5. How to Alleviate Stress Using Telephony

It’s no secret that as we push towards our career goals, some of us spend far too much time focused on our work and not enough time focused on ourselves.

In recent years, stress and burnout have become more and more critical health issues, leading to serious illness and sick leave. Work related stress is especially (but not only) problematic for those who are in the beginning of their careers, trying to make a name for themselves and prove to their superiors that they are worth this promotion or that corner office. They deal with great amounts of workplace stress without knowing how to cope with stress at work, leading to strong physical and mental exhaustion.

What are the main symptoms of burnout syndrome?

Among the main burnout symptoms, the most prevalent and subtle are the ones we deal with every day and associate with regular work-related stress. Therefore, the symptoms of burnout syndrome are the same as the work stress symptoms. According to Psychology Today, the telltale most important burnout and stress symptoms are:

  • Chronic fatigue: constantly feeling like you have no energy.
  • Insomnia: not being able to fall asleep, or waking up many times in the night, no matter how tired you are.
  • Forgetfulness and inability to concentrate: A general sense of not being able to focus and forgetting tasks.
  • Physical symptoms and increased illness: anything from chest pains to digestive issues, and since your body and mind are so tired, you find yourself catching colds more often and staying sick longer.
  • Psychological symptoms: these generally begin with anxiety and turn into increased depressive tendencies, irritability, and full on anger.

What are the causes of burnout due to work stress?

The causes of stress in the workplace are more diverse than one would expect. Next to individual personality characteristics (such as perfectionism or poor stress management strategies), a company’s poor organisational structures play an important role in producing work related stress. According to the consulting company Gallup’s study, the 5 main causes of stress at work are:

  1. Being treated unfairly: due to bias, favouritism, and mistrust, among other reasons.
  2. Unmanageable workloads: high performance work calls for impossible workloads.
  3. Unclear role descriptions: not knowing exactly what is expected from an employee.
  4. Lack of managerial communication and support: many people feel like they are not being properly informed and/or supported by their managers.
  5. Unrealistic deadlines: impossible workloads with even more impossible turnaround times.

How to deal with stress at work?

There are many ways of how the causes of stress at work can be alleviated. One CNBC report offers suggestions of both learning your strengths as well as understanding your weaknesses and limits, which facilitates the challenge of dealing with stress at work. Also, good communication and making sure you have a group of supportive colleagues to go to for help when needed is important for stress relief. Lastly, finding the right managerial support to search for strategies on how to cope with stress at work together is essential.

Many articles nowadays tend to focus on these options as ways to eliminate the causes of stress in the workplace, as well as incorporating regular exercise, relaxation techniques and good sleep to your daily routine. Consequently, we thought we would take a slightly different approach on how to deal with stress at work.

In this series, focused on work stress and mental health, we will discuss the ways in which we have found the media and business travel to be significant factors in the tipping point from ‘healthy’ amounts of workplace stress to burnout leading to sick leave.

Join us in the comings weeks as we look further into how email and business travel truly affect us as workers in the modern era, and how you and/or your company can make use of our telephonic services to help everyone dealing with stress at work.

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