Occupational Stress – Causes, Symptoms and Management

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The world at large is filled with people who work. It is jam-packed of people who work for themselves, for others, in Government sectors, private sectors, civil and social sectors and so on. In other words occupation has become an integral part of our lives. Neither can we live without it nor can we lead a fulfilling life without it.

Every occupation brings some free perks and gifts for us in the form of occupational stress, work conflicts, team mismanagement, communication issues and so on. No matter how big or how small an organization is, and no matter how organized or amazing an organization is, these issues are bound to creep in either in tremendous forms or in latent subtle forms.

Organizational Stress can develop due to a wide array of reasons. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Strict organizational policies and protocols
  • Less scope for self-growth
  • Intra (Within) and Inter (Between) group conflicts
  • Workforce mismanagement
  • Human resource mismanagement
  • Lack of proper communication
  • Personal and situational issues
  • Bullying
  • Groupism
  • Time and work mismanagement

Whatever may be the cause of occupational stress it leads to a great deal of downfall of overall work output. It degrades your motivation to work, hampers your professional life and thrusts a jolt on your personal life, emotions, goodwill, belief system, health and so on.

You can experience occupational stress in manifold ways. It can be both overt (that it can be seen in your observable behavior) or covert (you may be suffering from stress within and it cannot be easily seen). Here are some of the common symptoms that you may experience if you fall a prey to occupational stress:

  • Generalized stress (feeling stressed out in almost everything)
  • Lack of motivation to work
  • Inability to meet deadlines
  • Chaos and confusion
  • Feeling of inferiority and anxiousness
  • Changes in diet, sleeplessness, irritability
  • Feelings of depression, hopelessness and helplessness, dejection and failure
  • Excessive sweating, palpitations, nightmares in some cases
  • Lack of confidence in presentations, communication and overall performance
  • Burnout
  • Turnover

If you are a suffering from occupational stress don’t fall a silent prey to it. There are numerous ways in which you can effectively deal with it:

  • The first and foremost way to keep occupational stress at bay starts from the day you join an organization. Genuineness, professional attitude, keen interest and keeping your personal attributes out of your professional world are the key factors to be kept in mind.
  • Do your work diligently and maintain a proper pace in your work. Do not resort to procrastination. Because it will keep a lot of back-log of work behind. And ultimately the unfinished accumulated work will attract unnecessary stress.
  • Oil-polishing or hero worship is a common phenomenon in work cultures today. In order to reach higher designations, in order to get good appraisals, promotions and hikes employees often try to impress their higher authorities. However, if you waste your time doing so then when will you get sufficient time to do your own work? If you work genuinely and nicely, obviously it will get good appraisal and accolades sooner or later.
  • Do not share your personal insecurities and issues with others at work. You never know when you will be back-stabbed.
  • Punctuality, regularity, time management, honesty, diligence, discipline, and maintaining healthy professional attitude form some of the effective ways of dealing with occupational stress.
  • Do not involve in bullying others. Do not indulge in groupism too. Because by doing that you are digging a pit for your own downfall.
  • If you are a victim of bullying, do not hesitate in reporting the same to your higher authorities, HR of your office or counselor.
  • Try to finish all your work at your office itself so that you can return home and relax.
  • Keep your work environment neat and tidy. That will keep your mood fresh for the day’s work.
  • Healthy competition with others is OK. However, learn to compete with yourself. As in, where you are now and where you have to reach. This will be the benchmark of your success.
  • Last but not the least, concentrate on your own work as you are the one accountable for it and no one is going to take its responsibility. And do not compare yourself with others. As a part of the organization you and your work are equally important no matter what position or designation you hold.
  • Keep some handy stress management techniques with you. Use them when you feel over-stressed: deep breathing, meditation, walking out of the work area, getting some fresh air, listening to your favorite musical number…these are some of the easy ways to tackle stress.
  • If the occupational stress becomes too overwhelming for you to handle then do not hesitate to contact a professional therapist. We all need some or the other support in our lives. Some times we can tackle our own issues all by ourselves and sometimes it requires team work.

Work is only a part and parcel of your life. What defines you is not your work but how you do it. So, love you work and even if you don’t then try to search for a work you love or try to make peace with our existing job. No work is big or small. Every work has its own significance. It’s our perspective and mindsets towards that work that matters. The way we work and with the way we make our work enterprising will define and determine its height and worthwhile nature. Always remember:

“When you find yourself stressed, ask yourself one question: Will this matter in 5 years from now? If yes, then do something about the situation. If no, then let it go.”

 – Catherine Pulsifer

Best Wishes,

Sareeta

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