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Stress at work

By Ghadeer Habash , Family Flavours - Jun 21,2020 - Last updated at Jun 21,2020

Photo courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

Ghadeer Habash
Internationally Certified Career Trainer


Is your job or daily routine causing you stress? Workload, demanding jobs, management’s pressure, challenging working environments, deadlines, achieving sales’ targets or even scoring high on appraisals — all lead to various levels of stress.

The burden can be a result of uncooperative teams, unskilled or incompetent workers or colleagues, and in many cases, caused by incompetent management, bad planning, unclear goals and lack of time or priorities.

All these complications of life can lead to a reduced ability in dealing and coping with challenges, but let’s pause and notice if we experience any of these symptoms of stress:

• Pain in the back or chest

• Muscle spasms or aches

• Sweating

• Fainting

• Headache

• High blood pressure

• Heart problems

• Low immunity

• Upset stomach


You may notice that you’re under stress if you burst with anger more often or feel anxious and sometimes burned out.

If you start to have difficulty concentrating on the job at hand with continuous fatigue, even not being able to relax at home when you try, sleeping difficulties, and even worse, depression, may ensue.


How can work stress 

be life threatening?


Though we deal with stress management as a soft skill that can be learnt during training sessions, we must first understand the science behind how our bodies respond to stress. Stress causes the adrenal gland to increase a hormone called “cortisol”, in addition to adrenaline and noradrenaline in the body, which increases heart rate, sweating, alertness (causing lack of sleep). As a result, stress slows down many important functions like digestion and the immune system and increases blood pressure. Long-term on going stress can increase the risk of hypertension, heart attack or stroke. Prolonged chronic stress may even heighten the risk for suicidal thinking.


The three types of stress


• Acute stress lasts for a short period, like when you’re working to meet a deadline

• Episodic stress is repetitive and frequent — maybe you are taking on too much at work, causing you to feel overwhelmed and burned out

• Chronic stress is the most severe and involves a prolonged and constant feeling of stress that will negatively affect your health if untreated


Stressors in life


Everyone has different stressors and can experience stress at a different level from anyone else.

Here are some common ones:

• A demanding job or loss of a job

• Unhealthy working environment

• Relationship problems (divorce or an unhappy marriage)

• Illness or chronic pain

• Financial stressors

• Lack of time

• Bad traffic

• Uncertainty


If you find yourself stressed out in your job or life, unhealthy behaviours like food cravings, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, heavy smoking and social withdrawal, will only make matters worse. Instead, I encourage learning stress management skills to build new habits that will help reduce stress.


Tips for managing stress


• Trying to eliminate stressors, if possible like staying away from stressful situations, places or people

• Practising an enjoyable hobby or finding new interests

• Practising yoga or meditation and exercising

• Learning how to breathe correctly

• Getting regular massages

• Listening to calming music

• Eating healthier food and limiting junk food

• Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake

• Learning time management techniques

• Surrounding yourself with positive and trustworthy people

• Establishing support networks


Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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