How to Spot the Signs of Stress in Your Workplace?

National Stress Awareness Day is on the 3rd of November and last month, it was World Mental Health Day (10th October) it’s important more than ever to spot the signs of stress in your workplace and help your employees.

Stress is something that everyone will experience however, a consistent feeling of stress and being overwhelmed can be damaging to a person’s health and wellbeing. Recognising the signs of stress within yourself and your team means that you can put steps in place to reduce the level of stress and the impact it can have.

There is a long list of why a person may feel stressed such as financial anxiety and health to work in general, family problems and home life. Recognising the signs is important for managing the effect it has, the most common symptoms can be:

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Feeling tired

Even if you have the recommended eight hours of sleep, stress can still leave you feeling tired in the mornings and exhausted throughout the day. This is because the sleep that you did have was restless or you may have had trouble getting to sleep as you weren’t able to switch off as your mind was thinking of other things.

Regular headaches

Occasional headaches are common however, experiencing headaches frequently could be a sign of stress. ‘Stress headaches’ can be accompanied by tense shoulders and neck.

Feeling more emotional

When you are feeling stressed you tend to have heightened emotions which can mean you can act differently in some situations than you normally would. For example, people can be more tearful and irritable during the day and they may be triggered by small things.

Lack of motivation

Whether it’s work tasks or day to day life tasks, you may find yourself avoiding things that you need to do and even things that you used to enjoy. While it’s easy to go back to bed, you could be missing out on activities that might put you in a better mood.

You may see this in your employees as their work performance has decreased and small tasks that they usually complete quickly or never fell behind on are starting to stack up.

Stress eating or loss of appetite

Your relationship with food may have changed and it has gone either of two ways, you have either lost your appetite and find yourself not missing meals and not feeling hungry.  Alternatively, you find yourself stress eating and eating more or opting for unhealthier food options.

Getting ill easier

As well as the mental health impacts that stress could have on you and your employees, it can also affect physical health. Stress can impact your immune system and means that you can become ill more frequently and can take longer for you to recover.


How can you combat stress?

  • Exercise – Exercising releases a hormone that can boost your mood. If you don’t feel like doing a 30 minute workout, even just going for a walk outside and getting some fresh air can do you a world of good.
  • Set goals – To help manage stress, it can be a good idea to set out small goals to hit. That way, you can see what you have achieved and it’s one of being able to take back control and manage your workload. You’ll be able to see the small steps that you need to complete to finish something, and it can feel less overwhelming.
  • Speak to friends and colleagues – It can be good to talk things out and speak to people about what you are stressed about. More often than not, people will offer help or may have a solution to your stress related problem.
  • Create some time for yourself – This can be reading a book, going for a walk, having a bath or doing something that you enjoy such as painting, exercising or baking.
  • Create a ‘stress free’ environment – If you’re an employer, it might be an idea to create an environment where your employees can wind down. It can be as simple as somewhere for them to have a lunch away from their desks. It’s good to give your staff somewhere to unwind throughout the day as they will go back to work more refreshed, less stressed and more motivated.
  • Take time away from what is causing you stress – If it’s possible, walk away from what you’re doing and come back to it in a couple of hours and day later. Working on something consistently can make you feel more stressed. If you’re an employer, it might be a good idea to take your employees out for lunch, a team building day or hold a small office party. It’s a great way to show your appreciation but also for them to unwind and take some time away from work.