We all know that stress is a major mental health issue and it causes a huge amount of workplace absence in the UK; however, many of us fail to recognise the symptoms of stress in others, and indeed, in ourselves.
Stress is defined as a physical, psychological or social dysfunction caused by real or imagined pressures. These can come in the form of excessive expectations or requirements, particularly in the workplace. Big signs you’re stressed include depression and anxiety-related symptoms, such as panic attacks.
According to the mental health charity MIND, one in five workers (19%) called in sick due to stress in 2011, yet 93% told their boss it was for some other reason. 55% of retail workers and 45% of construction and finance workers have considered quitting due to stress. And while 68% of us say that we find it easy to recognise the signs in ourselves, many are affected by the condition without realising it.
Once identified, such problems can be addressed by seeking help and advice from professionals – calling upon health insurance if necessary. In fact, such cover can help to alleviate worries about illness by providing peace of mind – meaning it’s beneficial for employers as well as employees.
To help you identify if you’re feeling the effects of stress, here are some common signs to look out for.
Stress releases hormones that can cause hair loss and brittle nails, as well as a compulsion to literally tear your hair out.
Vagueness and memory lapses
We imagine a stressed person to be on-edge, but quietness and an aura of withdrawal, memory lapses and vagueness can also be telltale symptoms.
Sometimes we cope with stress by trying to work too hard. We imagine that we are coping and on top of things but in fact our work suffers and we make mistakes, all the while making ourselves ill and rundown. If you notice these patterns in your work, it’s time to take a break.
Stress makes our stomachs sensitive, which can lead to heartburn, IBS and indigestion. On a psychological level, it can also lead to eating disorders.
The hormone cortisol can be caused by stress, which creates greasy skin leading to spots and bad skin. Conditions like psoriasis can also result from excessive stress levels.
Unusual clumsiness and being prone to accidents can actually be due to you feeling stressed. Your mind is distracted and your body is tense, so you’re not taking as much care as you normally would.
Colds and infections
Stress causes your body to become generally run-down, making you more susceptible to all kinds of bugs and illnesses, as well as fatigue. Stress may be the underlying cause of days taken off sick due to these conditions.
You may also be interested in: Calculating the cost of your health insurance excess