Headache, boredom, constant tiredness, stomach pain and high blood pressure – all of this could be related to work stress. Occupational stress has no boundary and soon it could be encroaching personal life.
Most people would take all these symptoms to their home making family members at home feel the pressure too.
“What tires a person the most are thoughts. When one gets mentally tired one starts accumulating stress. Work stress needs to not only to be attended to but be combatted,” said Kamal Khimji, Board member and International Faculty of Art of living Middle East.
Today more companies are choosing to conduct workshops on stress on their own premises.
Dr Hamad al Sinawi, psychiatrist who with his team of psychologists, conducts workshops on stress management for organisations explains that causes of occupational stress can be divided into three categories, which are related to the work environment, to the person and to the nature of the job.
In the category of work environment issues, work load, management style, working hours, fairness between employees, chances for promotion and self-development all are indicators of stress.
As in the case of the individual the personality style (some people are slow or perfectionist, meticulous or disorganised) and need of skills such as time management, communication skills, as well as anger management can be causes.
“Jobs involving working with other people and caring (nursing /medicine, firefighters) more stressful as they involve dealing with death,” explained Dr Al Sinawi.
“Anger management is very important interpersonal skills, as we deal with different kind of people who often get irritated by others and could be demanding or behaving in a disrespectful manner. Some people lash out and express their anger in physical or verbal manner,” he said.
Women at work experience stress at another level. “If you think of it in terms of having more responsibility at home and having to manage children, then yes. Also in some jobs, women are paid less for doing the same work as men,” he said.
WHO introduced the term, “Job Burnout” this year? Dr Al Sinawi said that this is a special type of work-related stress, which is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.
“Burnout is not a medical diagnosis. Some experts think that other conditions, such as depression, are behind ‘burnout’,” said Dr Al Sinawi.
Some of the questions that are often asked while conducting workshops are ‘how do you know that your body is reacting to stress or what are the effects of stress?’ Body begins to react to stress. “We divide them to physical health, mental health and social impact,” Dr Al Sinawi explained, adding, “Physically, one experiences headaches, tiredness, stomach pain, sometime even high blood pressure. In mental health the symptoms are lack of sleep, anxiety, depression, and some people smoke or drink and even go to the extent of using drug thinking that helps stress ease out.”
So how can people deal with stress? “We recommend job related skills like getting more organised, time management, adopting healthy life style, eating healthy food, exercising and having enough sleep. We also move to psychological flexibility and practicing mindfulness. If it is people related then we advise to talk it over,” he said.
Meanwhile for many breathing exercises and meditation have been helping.
“Meditation is the antidote to combat stress. The result of meditation is sharp focus and a calm mind. Meditation breathing and yoga help to relieve stress and bring awareness as well as bring back the smile that is needed at the work place.