Work Stress: How It Affects You, And the Best Way to Handle It

Work stress

We’ve all had moments of stress. Stress comes in when you have a deadline to meet, a presentation to make, or when you are up to your neck in unfinished paperwork. During these times, you notice an increase in alertness, an increase in your heart rate and faster breathing. These are all common representations of stressors. However, we fail to realize that stress comes in many forms. Something as simple as deciding where to order lunch or what color of shoes to wear to work are also stressors in their own way.

The construction industry is a highly stressful environment. There are many times that construction does not go as planned, payments can be delayed or the project may be falling behind on the timeline. All of these factors and more you can actually track on a good construction RFI software.

Acute and Chronic Stress

There are two types of stress that we can encounter: acute and chronic. Acute stress occurs and resolves quickly. It is your body at work reacting to your primordial fight or flight response. An example would be pitching a presentation in front of a crowd or getting in an argument with a co-worker. This response also occurs when you’re doing something exciting such as skydiving or simply watching a horror movie. On the other hand, chronic stress occurs for long periods of time, sometimes spanning weeks or months. Your body usually finds ways to adapt to chronic stress and helps you adapt. It is during times that we can no longer respond well that our body goes into a state of disequilibrium, also known as a state of distress. Here, we break down how chronic stress can affect you and how you can handle it.

Forgetfulness

The over secretion of the stress hormone, cortisol, may lead to impairment of some parts of the brain responsible for long-term memory formation. When you’re stressed you may find it hard to remember the little things such as where you placed your keys. At times of extreme stress, you will also find it hard to recall important information.

What to do:

If you find yourself fussing over where you placed your things, make it’s a habit to keep your work station organized. Working in construction is a highly stressful occupation in itself, don’t add to the troubles by leaving a cluttered desk where even the smallest task of finding a stapler can cause you additional stress.

Fatigue

Chronic stress can leave you always feeling tired and drained of energy. Fatigue may be a feeling of physical tiredness or emotional burn-out. Sometimes it can be a combination of both. Fatigue can also be a sign of a more serious consequence of stress- depression. Due to the high-stress nature of the construction industry, there is an increasing rate of suicide related to depression among construction workers.

What to do:

Combat fatigue through regular exercise. Try to make time for a short exercise every day. If this is not possible, get some exercise by trying to incorporate exercise in your daily routine. Walk to work, if it’s feasible. Stretch at your desk, or maybe take the stairs instead of taking the lift. Exercise releases endorphins, the happy hormones, and this helps to combat the effects of cortisol in your body.

Irritability

If you find yourself flinching at the smallest of things in the office, this may be a sign that you’re under stress. This builds an unwarranted amount of tension in the office that can also cause stress in other workers. If you find yourself quick to anger, maybe this is a sign that you have to take a breather.

What to do:

Don’t be quick to act on your anger. Sometimes, you may need to remove yourself from the stressful situation and take time to think so that you can make better decisions. If you feel that the tension is building up in a situation, excuse yourself and try to compose your thoughts. Try to always be the better person in the situation and try not to contribute any additional stress in the workplace.

Palpitations

Due to an increase in cortisol levels, your fight or flight response is marked by an increase in heart rate. This is your body trying to prepare you for a stressful event. People under stress find themselves experiencing palpitations even at rest. This may be a sign of a more serious condition that requires medical attention.

What to do:

If you find yourself experiencing palpitations, you should seek to consult with a medical professional. For the meantime, you should also try to avoid taking stimulants such as coffee. Also, try to cut back or totally eliminate smoking if you’re a smoker.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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