In my last blog I wrote about what stress is and the biology in our bodies that causes tension – both physically and mentally. If you haven’t read it yet, why not take a look: https://www.bethanythorntoncounselling.co.uk/news/article/can-counselling-help-with-stress.html
Whilst stress has many causes, work stress can be one of those issues we feel the most powerless to change – how do we tell our boss that we need less work, more time, that our colleagues are treating us badly etc? – Can we risk being looked down on, risk negative performance reviews or even job loss? In the corporate world long hours, heavy workloads and even back-stabbing seem to be an established culture that you have to put up with to progress in your career. Not only this, but how else can you keep your mortgage/rent and bills paid?
Within a report by the Health and Safety Executive* it states that the main causes of work-related mental health issues – primarily stress, depression or anxiety – are: workload pressures (including too much work, tight deadlines, too much pressure or responsibility), lack of managerial support, violence, threats or bullying and changes at work. I wonder if you’re nodding your head whilst reading that list and thinking – yep, that’s me, that’s what I’m going through? Well please know that you’re certainly not alone in this, official statistics from the Health and Safety Executive found that in 2016/17 over half a million workers in the UK suffered from work-related mental health issues and 12.5 million working days were lost because of this. That’s 40% of all work-related ill-health and 49% of working days lost.
So, when you think about the time it takes people to recover from work-related stress, depression or anxiety (an average of a whole month) – surely this is something that organisations should be working harder to address? Whilst some organisations are good to work for and have a strong ethos of taking care of their employees, others aren’t so good and don’t provide the support and appreciation that staff need to feel OK about working there. No matter how much a person is paid – they’re still human and have limits to their capacity for work and pressure.
So, if you’re finding your work-life difficult, can’t see an end to the stress and are noticing concerning symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, worried thoughts, tiredness and sleeping difficulties, headaches, muscle tension, nausea, sweaty palms and panic attacks, then it’s important to address this, because long-term stress can lead to even more serious health issues.
You may be feeling that you don’t know who to talk to – perhaps your colleagues appear to be ok and you’re worried you might be the only one feeling this way, or you’re concerned about the reaction of your line manager / HR Dept. Maybe you don’t want to concern your spouse/partner because your struggles could have financial implications, then it may be helpful to talk to a counsellor instead – someone who can listen, provide professional insight, help you think through your options and provide guidance on aspects of self-care for health, relaxation and sleep. If you’d like to take that first step to getting the support you need then please get in contact. Everything you share with me is kept strictly confidential and I won’t tell you what to do as this would override your autonomy. My job satisfaction comes from helping people feel better and it would be a privilege to support you in this.