Everyone will have cause to experience stress at some point in his or her life. For many, stress is a constant companion, maybe bought about by a situation at work or home. Quite often the signs are very obvious whereas with other people it can be harder to spot. It may be that you’re good at identifying stress in others but how good are you at noticing it in yourself?
Different types of stress
The manifestation of stress from this can be particularly complex, not only emotionally and mentally exhausting but also physically demanding. Indeed in some cases the consequences can be quite serious putting your own health, wellbeing and ability to provide compassion and effective care for the people in your charge at risk. If you are a manager or foreman you need to be sure that you are fully capable of proactively looking after the people you are responsible for.
It’s all too easy to dismiss some of the symptoms of stress and simply aim to carry on regardless. But, it’s important to nip it in the bud as soon as the signs begin to show. If you allow it to overwhelm you, your ability to focus on what is important and the reserves of energy you require to perform your duties, quickly diminish, with a direct impact on the quality of care you can deliver. The other issue with stress is that it doesn’t start and stop in line with your working hours. Stress can impact heavily on other areas of your being, be it your marriage, parenting or social life.
Acknowledging that stress is present is the first step on the ladder to defeating it. Rather than being a display of weakness, identifying that you are susceptible to stress means that you are better placed for the battle. The earlier you realise that this form of stress is extremely common and, probably more importantly, extremely understandable, the better it is. Being affected by a stressful situation or environment is by no means an indicator of your lack of ability, empathy or effectiveness.
What are the signs?
Subtle changes in your mental and emotional state might be the first indications for people to suspect that you are affected by stress. Inside you may feel a little confused, irritable, tense or just more sad than usual, but these signs should be used as a reason to look within yourself and assess how you feel.
Possibly the most serious element of stress are the physical signs of the condition. The negative effect on your body can be quite pronounced and suggest that you’ve allowed the stress to take hold. At this point it is a real call to arms that something needs to be done. The physical signs may include –
- Exhaustion or fatigue even if you feel like you have slept enough
- Sleeplessness or increased insomnia
- Frequent headaches
- Aching in your muscles or joints, particularly your neck and shoulders
- Digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, or stomach upset
- Frequent heartburn
- Increased allergy symptoms
- Increased instance of colds and infections, including UTIs and respiratory infections
- Dry, dull hair or hair loss
At the point that you begin to notice any of these signs, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. If you work as part of a team within a stressful environment you should also look out for each other and be ready to help any colleagues that you suspect may be going through a hard time. Having help from those around you at stressful junctures is important and an extremely positive weapon in defeating the condition and getting back to your best.