“I am so stressed” is something we hear almost every day, particularly at work. It is said so frequently, that sometimes it loses its meaning. So what actually is it?
Stress is a normal human response to change or demands. It can be caused by both positive and negative events, such as starting a new job, getting married, or going through a difficult time.
There is a myth that all stress is negative. This is not true, and in fact, there are two types of stress: eustress and distress. Eustress is positive stress that can motivate us to achieve our goals. For example, the stress of preparing for a big presentation can help us to focus and perform our best. Distress is negative stress that can harm our health and well-being. For example, the stress of feeling overwhelmed or overworked can lead to anxiety, depression, and physical health problems.
The differences include:
- Eustress keeps you energized and awake, but distress may exhaust you, so you sleep more
- Eustress can boost your mood, whereas distress can lower your mood with negative thoughts
- Distress can have mental health consequences like depression, but eustress improves your well-being
- Distress can cause anxiety, while eustress makes you feel excited and helps your confidence
- Eustress fuels you to be more productive and take action, while stress can make you feel overwhelmed and almost paralyzing
- Eustress improves your performance and quality of work, whereas distress decreases it
We are designed to have a period of stress and then an opportunity to recover. When we are under stress at work for prolonged periods, it can make us feel overwhelmed, anxious, and irritable. It can also lead to problems with concentration, decision-making, and productivity. In extreme cases, stress can lead to burnout, which is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
If stress is not managed effectively, it can have a number of risks for both the employee and the workplace. For the employee, stress can lead to health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. It can also lead to problems with sleep, eating, and relationships. In the workplace, stress can lead to absenteeism, presenteeism (being at work but not fully productive), and turnover. It can also lead to accidents, errors, and decreased productivity. For workplaces, unmanaged stress can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover rates.
How to manage stress
There are a number of things that you can do to manage stress, such as:
- Identify your stressors: Once you know what your stressors are, you can start to develop strategies for coping with them.
- Focus on what you can control
- Take breaks: It is important to take breaks throughout the day to relax and recharge. Get up and move around, step outside for some fresh air, or listen to some calming music.
- Exercise: Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
- Get enough sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet can help to improve your mood and energy levels, which can make it easier to manage stress.
- Practice relaxation techniques: There are a number of relaxation techniques that you can try, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
Talk to someone: If you are struggling to cope with stress, talk to a friend, family member, a professional, or other trusted individual.
Managing Distress/Stress training program:
This training program is for workplaces that want to empower their people through knowledge of stress and how to manage it effectively. It will also help mitigate again psychosocial risk of stress in the workplace.
The Managing Distress/Stress training program provides participants with a detailed understanding of the different types of stress, and how to effectively manage them.
The program covers a wide range of topics, including:
- The different types of stress (acute versus chronic; eustress versus distress; compounding and cumulative stress)
- How avoidance and procrastination fit into the typical stress model
- Healthier stress responses, as determined by the intensity and severity of the stress
- The opportunity to create an individual Stress Response Plan that can be enacted immediately
The Managing Distress/Stress training program can be delivered in either an online or face-to-face format. The program typically runs for two hours and includes a combination of interactive learning activities, group discussions, and individual exercises.
Contact us for more details.