Stress can be defined as the pressure put on a subject exceeding its ability to cope. Physical and mental capabilities are outstripped by demands, triggering adverse lifestyle adjustments to compensate in other areas. One person’s stress is another person’s opportunity; insufficient stress can cause boredom and depression, whereas being pleasantly challenged ignites enthusiasm and motivation, providing optimum stimulation.
Stress activates our ‘fight or flight’ response which makes us hyper-vigilant and reactive. This reaction triggers chemicals such as adrenaline to prepare our body for action when under physical threat. However, in the workplace this is likely to have a negative effect by inciting irritability, trembling, a pounding heart and generally putting us on edge.
Lack of demarcation between work and home life
Taking out frustrations on family and loved ones
Fatigue, despondency and despair
Constant awareness of the lack of time available
Feelings of obligation, guilt and self-blame
Anxiety, negativity and loss of perspective
Work constantly clouding thoughts and dominating conversation
Intolerance of change and uncertainty
Narrowing of focus as our brain becomes overcrowded
Some days it feels as though we are just surviving rather than living; relying on habits, conditioning and the sheer force of emotions to get through the day. This is particularly relevant in the current economic climate. The immense pressure of working in a fast-paced environment under constant financial strain leaves the majority of us overwhelmed and susceptible to burnout.
Burnout is progressive, gradually grinding you down, depleting energy reserves, dampening your spirit and inhibiting vitality. The process is exhausting and relentless, nevertheless it is preventable and balance and well-being can be restored.