Impact of Stress


Stress will impact everyone during their lifetime, however there are many factors that determine the severity of the impact, such as their psychological and genetic makeup, and other pressures in their personal life. A little bit of stress can be a positive influence in your life, as it has the potential to keep you focused, allow you to meet new demands and challenges and keep you energized. It is when stress reaches a level above your ability to cope that it becomes an issue and can have a detrimental effect on you physically, psychologically and behaviorally.

Physically, stress can cause sleep difficulties due to inability to “switch off” from what is causing stress, headaches and muscular tension as a result of not being able to relax. Heart palpitations and gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea and constipation are another symptom which is due to your bodies reaction to the fight or flight response. The physical symptoms of stress are the easiest ones to notice, it is the psychological and behavioral symptoms that are more difficult to self-diagnose and, at times, more detrimental to yourself and potentially others.

Psychological symptoms can include anxiety and depression, pessimism, an overwhelming feeling and inability to cope, as well we more difficulties in the ability to concentrate and make decisions. Behavioral symptoms include aggression, mood swings and general irritability, disinterest in everyday activities, problems with interpersonal relationships and an increase in sick days from work. It is clear that psychological and behavioural symptoms can be more detrimental to you and others as some of those listed above can cause relationship breakdown, increase the risk of losing work, an increased risk in the ability to function day to day and an increase risk of developing a mental health issue.

With the increase in smart devices that are allowing individuals to access work emails and take work home with them, decreasing their ability to switch off from work, there is an increase on work place stress. Work place stress affects not only the health and wellbeing of employees, but also the productivity of the organization, and accounts for the longest stretch of absenteeism. There are a number of reasons behind workplace stress, including the fear of being fired, pressure to perform to meet rising expectations, long hours, feeling overwhelmed, lack of control over how you complete your work, plus many more reasons. Along with the signs and symptoms listed above, excessive workplace stress can cause the following symptoms:

  • Increase use in drugs or alcohol as a way of ‘coping’ with the stress
  • Social withdrawal due to feelings of depression, anxiety and irritability
  • Sleeping problems
  • Decrease is sex drive
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Physical symptoms such as stomach problems and muscle tension and headaches.

There a number of strategies that an individual can implement to reduce and also avoid workplace stress, including:

  • Speaking to their manager or someone in the HR department about their stress, what is causing it and developing ways of reducing it
  • Speaking to someone close to them. There is a huge power in the ability of talking to someone about your troubles, as it allows you to stop holding it in, work through the issues and start the repair process
  • Concentrating on your health with exercise and nutritional food. By concentrating on your wellbeing through exercise and nutritional food, you become stronger, physically and mentally, allowing you to become more resilient to stressful events.
  • Taking a break. If you are feeling overwhelmed and stress is mounting, try and take a short break to distance yourself from what is causing the stress. Speak to someone, go for a short walk, watch or listen to something funny. Find something to change your state of mind and feel less stressed.
  • Rest! By getting enough sleep each day, means that your body is better rested and increases your ability to focus, problem solve, creativity and productivity.
  • Improve your time management skills. By creating a better work/life balance, having regular breaks and establishing healthy boundaries (leave work at work), as well as doing smaller things like waking up or leaving ten minutes earlier to avoid rushing, you allow yourself to switch off from work and reduce the feeling of being rushed and always on the go.

Everyone is different and will find something that will help them reduce stress in their life and also find something they can implement that will allow them to be more resilient to workplace and life stressors. By creating a work/life balance and finding these strategies, it creates for a more productivity workplace with fewer days off and most importantly, a happier and more focussed workforce.

All Area Hire joins Heads Up

We have recently joined Heads Up, which is a campaign developed by Beyond Blue. Heads Up is about creating more mentally healthy workplaces and reducing the stigma around mental health.

In August 2017, All Area Hire joined up to Heads Up, a member of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance. By joining Heads Up and becoming more informed about Beyond Blue and the Alliance, our aim is to reduce the stigma around Mental Health. We also strive to become more educated in mental health issues that predominantly affect males in the workplace such as depression and anxiety, and reach a place where our employees know the signs to look out for in themselves and their fellow workmates, making the workplace environment safer.

In October 2017, we highlighted Mental Health Week on our social media platforms in order to share information, myths and treatment in hopes of bringing attention to this issue to our followers. Our aim was to spread this information and hope that it would reach at least one person, whether that be through the individual seeking help for their own struggles, someone being able to see some signs and reach out to a family member, friend or work colleague and ask if they are ok, or even apply mental health first aid to someone that may need some help.

At the beginning of November, we have arranged a tool box talk with our employees to discuss with them the impact of mental illness and educate them on signs to look out for. We will also be handing out wallet size cards with facts and contact information so that all of our employees have details of who they can reach if they ever require some help.

Our next step is to continue to learn more about mental health issues and further educate our employees and ultimately reduce the stigma and ensure our employees feel comfortable in speaking with someone about any issues they are having. We have also recently come across a fantastic organisation, MATES in Construction, that focuses on reducing the high level of suicide in the construction industry, so we are very interested to learn more about this organisation.