Workplace stress is not unusual to any of us, as we combat it every single day. There is always pressure to meet a deadline or to resolve last minute issues that arise immediately. The fact is that we are so focused on ensuring that we are performing to the expectations of our employers for fear of not being considered competent enough or quite possibly losing our jobs that we never realize the impact that this sustained pressure or demand has on us, both physically and psychologically, until it’s too late.
We are also unaware that the type of job we hold can be directly related to our stress levels in the workplace. In a study conducted by Wamala et al, it was found that lower level occupations were more stressful than executive jobs. This is so, as the lack of control is more stressful than the burden of making decisions. The jobs of construction workers, secretaries, laboratory technicians, waiters, machine operators, farm workers and painters are rated as the most stressful jobs. They all present the individuals with low control, status and compensation.
In addition, it is found that middle management such as supervisors and foreman, were also even more susceptible to workplace stress and related health issues and especially, work induced depression. This is so, as they have to meet the demands of their bosses and the staff. This is not to say that the workplace is void of stress for high ranking executives but they are not as pressured because they have control and can dictate their breaks and vacation periods.
Stress Related Depression
Workplace stress can really affect us in the long-term and can be a large threat to our mental health. Focus is mainly placed on stress related diseases such as: high blood pressure and diabetes, when that is just the tip of the iceberg. The fact is stress-induced depression symptoms breaks down your immune system leaving you prone to infectious diseases such as colds, cardiovascular diseases, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. While these physiological diseases are quite serious, workplace stress can also serve a devastating blow to your mental health. You will not even realize that you are going down this dangerous route until you feel as if a truck had hit the wind out of you.
It is quite possible that you could be on your way to developing stress related depression, if the pressures and demands at work do not subside or an effective means to manage your workload is not put in place. Throughout the day you will feel pumped up and full of life due to the release of adrenaline, however, this is not meant to be a long term solution to finding the energy to do your job so you will eventually crash. You may soon find that you are exhibiting any combination of the signs of depression: fatigue, aggression, more frequent headaches, insomnia, heartburn, ulcers, the loss of sexual drive, inability to concentrate or relax, lack of energy, loss of interest in job and a change in your appetite.
With the prospect of developing stress related depression, you really need to step back and reevaluate your position before you fall into a major or manic depressive episode, which will be costly for you and your employer to rectify. So how do you combat these symptoms of depression? The answer is more easily said than done, because the nature of the job does not change even though you will certainly have to make changes. In some cases, to stave off depression you may be advised strongly to find another form of employment. Before you do that, as this normally is a last resort, try these simple little tactics that should help you cope.
- Have a to do list and prioritize tasks by doing those with a fast approaching deadline and those that are more difficult first.
- Have an honest discussion with your boss and posit practical solutions how best for these tasks to be taken care of.
- Exercise is considered to be highly therapeutic for relieving stress related depression. Aerobics or any sporting hobby, such as: tennis, dancing or basketball will be good.
- Make use of your Employee Assistant Program which helps to provide employees with the tools to effectively cope with stress in the workplace.
- Maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Taking Omega 3 for depression; vitamin B and B complex are also good for boosting energy and reducing the onset of fatigue.
- Learn to identify the symptoms as soon as they start to occur.
Workplace stress related depression happens to millions of people, you should never take this as a sign of your inability to perform. It just means that you have given your employer everything and need a little me time. Everyone deserves a break now and then and besides, your health is more important than a job, as thousands are advertised on a daily basis.