Welcome back empowered readers,
For this weeks empowered journal I wanted to discuss stress and the workplace. Stress should really be termed the disease of the 21st century. If left untreated, stress can manifest in physical symptoms that can include high blood pressure, heart disease, or even heart attacks. Stress can also be described as a “silent stalker”, with employees and managers wary to speak its name. But it is this exact environment that stress thrives on. Because when one adapts to stressors, instead of resolving stress, this can lead to chronic stress and very high costs for the company and individual.
Every organization can prevent the effects of workplace stress by spotting the signs of stress and knowing when it’s time for a stress management program. Despite the nature of stress, there are many signs that can tip off the problem. Here are examples of key indicators:
Absenteeism and High Turn Over
Health problems that can be set off by chronic stress include a suppression of the immune system, tissue repair system, and digestion, which multiply with sick days and absenteeism. If employees know how to manage stress, and management understands what fuels it, absenteeism is no longer the only coping option. And when employees feel there’s no possibility of stressors changing, they may decide to just quit. If your company, or the company you are employed with, are seeing more people heading for the exit sign, look closely, and stress may be the driving force.
Burnout is a red flag for stress, the terminal fatigue and cynicism that comes with experiencing burnout includes a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion that is caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. Burnout is perceived when an individual’s demands outweigh resources.
Reduced Efficiency and Production
When individuals are experiencing burnout, rumination on stressors can distract employees from attention on tasks at hand and future planning. Chronic stress can zap physical vitality as stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline deplete the body’s energetic resources. It is not working harder and longer that pick up productivity, but working smarter. This can include taking breaks, developing proper self-care strategies and investing in the wellness of your employees.
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To your empowered wellness,
Exchiela Benusic, MA