Managing stress in the workplace: Impact of stress on mental and physical health

We are all aware of the stressful environment in which we live; our lives have become fast-paced, and stress is an inescapable component of our lives. Be it at home or in your own working environment, where you tend to spend the majority of your day.

According to an ADP Research Institute survey, 76% of Indian workers believe that stress has a detrimental impact on their work performance.

Workplace stress should not be a regular occurrence

The persistent pressure and excessive expectations associated with work-related obligations could worsen anxiety.

Employees with chronic stress suffer from a wide range of harmful effects including,

  • Severe burnout
  • Constant headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • Higher sleep disturbance

Stressed employees have lower motivation and productivity. They are more reluctant to take part in teamwork.

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A buffer is your secret weapon

Workplace stress builds up during the day and manifests itself in the people you care about the most in the evenings and on weekends.

Imagine you want to enhance your ability to take breaks while avoiding burnout (which can result from a combination of workplace and emotional stress). Knowing how to let it out in a healthy way can be beneficial in this situation.

A few stretches, a walk around your neighborhood, or playing your favorite song are all simple ways to rejuvenate yourself or connect with others.

Focus on self-care

  • Hydration: Begin each day with a glass of water. If you have a busy day, sipping little sips of water in-between will keep you hydrated.
  • Calm Yourself: Calm your nervous system by breathing deeply and counting your breaths in and out in a regular pattern when everything seems overwhelming.
  • Recharge yourself: Dedicate some time intentionally to an activity that will restore your energy.
  • Focus on your mental health: Seek help through mental health services.
  • Organizational Initiatives

    Given that our offices have become our second home, where we spend the majority of our time, organizations play a critical role in reducing workplace stress.

    Employee assistance programs (EAPs) that offer counselling and mental health resources can provide a safety net for those struggling with stress.

    There are organisations providing many mental health services throughout India:

  • NIMHANS: 080-46110007
  • Mpower helpine : 1800-120-820050
  • Sneha : 044-24640050, 044-24640060
  • Fortis Stress Helpline: 08376804102
  • Employers can establish a healthier work environment that prioritises employee well-being by implementing comprehensive stress management methods and organisational efforts, resulting in improved mental health, increased job satisfaction, and increased overall productivity.

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    Now let’s understand why it is important to manage workplace stress

    Managing stress in the workplace is of paramount importance for several compelling reasons. In today's fast-paced and demanding work environments, stress has become a common companion for many employees. However, the adverse effects of unmanaged stress can be detrimental, not only to individual well-being but also to overall organizational success.

    First and foremost, stress can have a profound impact on an individual's mental health. When left unaddressed, chronic workplace stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and burnout. These conditions not only diminish an individual's quality of life but can also result in decreased productivity and absenteeism. Employees struggling with stress are less likely to perform at their best, make effective decisions, or contribute positively to their teams, leading to a reduction in overall workplace morale and effectiveness.

    Furthermore, unmanaged stress can take a toll on physical health. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones can lead to a range of physical health issues, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, compromised immune function, and even increased susceptibility to chronic diseases like diabetes. This not only poses risks to individual employees but also results in higher healthcare costs for organizations.

    Additionally, unaddressed stress can lead to interpersonal conflicts within the workplace. When individuals are stressed, they are more likely to become irritable, impatient, and less empathetic. This can strain relationships with colleagues and supervisors, leading to a toxic work environment characterized by tension, hostility, and reduced collaboration. Such a negative atmosphere not only hampers productivity but can also result in increased turnover as employees seek healthier work environments.

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    On the flip side, effective stress management fosters a positive workplace culture. When employees feel supported in managing their stress, they are more likely to experience job satisfaction and engagement. This, in turn, leads to higher retention rates, increased morale, and a more cohesive and productive workforce.

    Moreover, stress management initiatives can enhance an organization's overall reputation. Companies that prioritize employee well-being and provide resources for stress reduction are seen as more attractive to potential hires. A positive reputation can help in recruiting and retaining top talent in a competitive job market.

    In conclusion, managing stress in the workplace is crucial for safeguarding both individual and organizational well-being. It not only prevents mental and physical health issues among employees but also enhances productivity, fosters a positive work culture, and bolsters a company's reputation. Recognizing the importance of stress management and implementing effective strategies to address it is a wise investment that pays dividends in terms of a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce.

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