Occupational wellness: Burnout and the risks of work-related stress

Chronic work stress can cause negative mental health effects as well as marked behavioral changes

Occupational wellness describes the ability to achieve a balance between work and personal life in such a way that promotes health and satisfaction. (Photo: Unsplash)
Practicing good habits on a daily basis can lead to a state of improved health, both physically and mentally.

Well-being as a whole is a multi-dimensional topic and encompasses many different aspects of life.اضافة اعلان

Those dimensions are all interconnected and equally important.

At some point in most people’s lives they will get a job and encounter occupational stress associated with their job.

Whether it be a job at an office, doing manual labor, or in sales and retail, all forms of work come with their own forms of stress.

Occupational wellness is the ability to achieve a balance between work and personal life in such a way that promotes health and satisfaction, while still being financially rewarding.

Our ability, or lack thereof, to maintain occupational wellness can impact our overall wellness, performance, interactions with others and success.

In other words, how well you manage work stress on a daily basis can have a huge impact on your overall well-being.

Effects of occupational stress

The importance of occupational well-being is something that should be discussed more among employers because of the negative short and long-term effects it can have on their employees.

The nature of the job does not matter.

Being overworked and stressed for long periods of time comes with a large risk to both your mental and physical health.

Studies have shown that excess strain from a job can be a risk factor for many cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension (elevated blood pressure), obesity, and high cholesterol, which can lead to serious complications such as heart attack and stroke.

Additionally, chronic work stress can cause negative mental health effects as well as marked behavioral changes.

If left without proper management, serious problems may arise such as anxiety, depression, and complete burn out.

This will inevitably decrease your productivity at work as well as become a part of your non-work-related life.

Occupational stress can also lead to an increase in already existing unhealthy behavior such as cigarette smoking or drinking.

Over-stressed individuals become more likely to engage in unhealthy behavior that may jeopardize their relationships with their loved ones.

For those reasons, management of work stress on a daily basis is crucial not only for your well-being, but for your long-term health as well. 

Identifying occupational stress

Self-identifying occupational stress requires a great deal of introspective reflection.

Generally speaking, a sense of dread when thinking about work, lack of motivation, and feeling ostracized in your work environment, are all signs that your occupational wellness needs improvement.

An article published by Dr Fred J. Dorn in 1992, outlined one key struggle many face with jobs.

He called it the “Dual Identity Syndrome,” in which people practice separating their work lives from their personal lives.

He hypothesized that this dual identity is often a way that people choose to cope with stress from work.

As a result, people end up having restricted expectations, accepting poor work conditions, and focusing not on the job but more so the outcomes such as money and security.

This coping mechanism leads people to focus more on job stability and financial gain rather than their own well-being.

Over time, this can become extremely damaging to your overall wellness and can start to affect areas of your life outside of your job.

Identifying occupational stress is the first step to finding solutions.

Prolonged work stress can be seen through both physical and non-physical signs.

Physical Signs

-Chest pain or a pounding heart
-Nausea, diarrhea, or constipation
-Becoming sick more often
-Muscle tension, pains, and headaches
-Episodes of fast, shallow breathing, and excessive sweating
-Loss or change of appetite
-Sleeping problems

Non-physical signs

-Feeling overwhelmed or frustrated
-Feeling guilty or unhappy
-Being irritable
-Losing confidence and being indecisive
-Thinking negatively
-Having racing thoughts
-Memory problems
-Excessive worrying

Knowing the signs can help you recognize that you may be suffering from chronic occupational stress.

This will help you take the first step and explore some healthy strategies to help manage that stress.

How to manage occupational stress

After identifying aspects of work that cause stress, it becomes easy to find healthy ways to cope with stress.

For example, if your stress is induced by working too many hours, you can effectively reduce that stress by taking some time off and by not working any extra hours.

 Generally speaking, avoid taking your work home with you at the end of the day.

Complete all work-related tasks, including scheduling meetings, during work hours to allow you to have that free time when you get home.

If you work a desk job or must sit for a long time during the day, taking breaks every couple of hours is recommended to help with your blood circulation.

If possible, take your vacation time, spend time with your loved ones, enjoy the beautiful sights Jordan has to offer and just take time off to allow your mind and body to relax.

Most importantly, if you notice that you are experiencing many of the signs of chronic occupational stress, reach out and talk to someone.

Focus on your health and your wellness.     

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