11.7m working days lost to stress: here are the warning signs to look out for
IT’S a health condition that accounted for 11.7million lost working days in 2015-16. April is Stress Awareness Month – an annual event which has been highlighting the issue since 1992.
Steve Bendell, of Bendell Publicity Consultants in Bournemouth, has a diploma in stress management and has worked in the sector for nearly a decade.
“There is more than one definition of stress but the one I tend to use is that stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed upon them and it arises when they worry they cannot cope,” he said. “Whilst stress is a terrible ordeal for the individual concerned it also has severe ramifications for business.
“The Health and Safety Executive estimates that during 2015/16, stress, anxiety or depression accounted for 11.7 million lost days at work.”
Some people say they thrive on stress, but what they are really talking about is pressure, he said. “Pressure can act as a motivational force, enhance our performance and our powers of concentration can improve,” he said. “Stress arises from an accumulation of events and situations over a period of time and what may be stressful to one person may not be to another.
“The ill-effects of stress can be evident. Headaches, neck and back pain, dizziness, blurred vision brought about as blood pressure increases, heart disorders, disturbed sleep, indigestion, ulcers, asthma and palpitations are all among the warning signs that should not be ignored. Some individuals can then turn to what are described as maladaptive coping strategies that can include smoking, alcohol and drugs.”
For employers, it is important not to ignore signs that an employee is suffering from stress. In the worst case scenario, a business could find itself defending a claim of constructive dismissal if an employee’s situation is not properly dealt with.
For employees, he says a healthy lifestyle can help prevent stress taking over your life. That means being sure to exercise, maintain a balanced diet and maintaining good sleep patterns.
“You should also try and spend at least 30 minutes a day doing something that you enjoy,” he added.
*Story Courtesy Of Bournemouth Daily Echo