A new pandemic is unleashing, and with a vengeance – increased stress and emotional problems in the workplace. Or, should I say, from the workplace.
Everyday, there are new stories arising that relate to the negative impact that stress is having on workers, which is not industry-specific (although some industries seem to be suffering more, such as healthcare). According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers are experiencing on-the-job stress, some more severely than others.
Stress impacts every aspect of our lives, from physical health to emotional health. More than anything, stress negatively impacts our emotional health. It can cause you to be depressed, emotionally spent and exhausted, and a whole slew of other negative things.
In this article, we’re going to help you identify the emotional impact of your stress and what you can do about it.
Personality changes that may be caused by stress
The first way for you to identify if your stress is impacting your emotional health is by observing a few personality changes. It’s important to note that by personality changes, we mean long-term. Everyone experiences mood shifts, good days and bad days, etc. We’re talking about noticing these personality changes taking effect for days and weeks at a time, or longer.
The following are noticeable personality changes that could be caused by stress:
- Decreased interest in appearance
- Aggressive feelings or behavior
- Decreased concern in punctuality
- Lack of motivation
- The Reduced work efficiency or productivity
- Obsessive/compulsive behaviors
- Excessive auspiciousness or defensiveness
- Lying or making excuses to cover up poor work or behavior
- Communication difficulties
- Social withdraw
If you notice any of the following changes taking hold on your life and emotional health, try to limit your stress and maybe seek additional help.
Stress can cause certain anxiety disorders to creep up, come back, or flare up. Stress and anxiety are bed mates and rarely exist without each other. If you’re overworked and over-stressed and do nothing about it, anxiety can start to take hold.
If you notice that most everything causes you to feel anxious or even to panic, this could be a problem for you. If you’re unfamiliar with the feelings of anxiety, here are some common signs of panic:
- Heart racing
- Tightness in the chest making it difficult to breath
- Stomach pain or feelings of butterflies in the stomach
- Acid reflux
- Hot flashes or chills
- Numbness in your hands or other parts of the body
- Feeling dizzy or light-headed
It’s important to note that anxiety and panic affect everyone differently. Each person has a different tell for their anxiety attacks; the best advice we can give you is to pay attention and note your signs.
Stress can also impact your emotional health by causing or worsening depression. It’s very important to address depression if it’s starting to take hold in your life, as it can worsen very quickly with little to no warning. If you’ve noticed any of the following symptoms creep up and not seem to go away, consider talking to a friend, loved one, or mental health professional for assistance:
- Decreased interest in favorite things or activities
- Social withdraw or isolation
- Decreased interest in appearance
- Interest in doing little other than laying around
- Decreased interest in hygiene
- Sense of hopelessness
What to do about it
If you’ve noticed that stress is impacting your emotional health, there are a few things you can do to help it:
Eliminate unnecessary stressors
Are you taking on more responsibilities than you need to? Do you stress about little things that you should probably just let go? Sit down and take a hard look at your life and what’s causing you stress. See what you can eliminate or work on not taking so hard or letting go of.
Keep to a schedule
Sometimes, what’s stressing us out the most is a lack of control. Scheduling your time and sticking to it can help to eliminate some of that excess stress that’s impacting your emotional health. Making lists each day will help you to keep focused on your tasks – you won’t have to think or worry about what to do – and helps with managing your time.
Take time for you
We’re all busy, but it’s important for us to work in some time for ourselves. Self-care is an important part of our emotional and mental health. If you’re having trouble with too much stress in your life, carving some time out for yourself may be just what you need to revive yourself and feel rejuvenated.
The most important step is to be aware of when you first start experiencing any of the symptoms listed, and not wait, as this will only lead to problems down the road. It is much easier to cope with them at the start, not waiting until they spiral out of control. Keep a journal or mood chart to capture these, including the time of day, what you were doing, etc. This will help you to be more aware and take control of your emotional health at all times.
If you, ore your team, wants to learn more about how to manage emotional wellness in the workplace, reach out for info on our programs and trainings. Awareness is key. We do work with individuals, both in-person and remote.