Safety column: Stress in the work place

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By Chantal Blais

Special to Ontario Construction News

Workplace stress is the harmful physical and emotional responses that can happen when there is a conflict between job demands on the employee and the amount of control an employee has over meeting these demands.

Workplace stress can be caused by a number of factors – from heavy workloads and over-promotion to bullying and blame culture. Some common causes of stress in the workplace are:

  • Unrealistic deadlines;
  • Making people feel rushed;
  • Under pressure and overwhelmed; and
  • High workloads.

Symptoms of stress in the workplace:

  • Fatigue;
  • Muscular tension;
  • Headaches;
  • Confusion;
  • Being discouraged;
  • Heart palpitations;
  • Sleeping difficulties, such as insomnia;
  • Gastrointestinal upsets, such as diarrhoea or constipation; and
  • Dermatological disorders.

Here are some ideas about how to manage stress:

  • Track your stressors. Write them down;
  • Develop positive responses;
  • Establish boundaries for yourself;
  • Take time to recharge;
  • Learn how to relax and breath;
  • Talk to your supervisor. Don’t be shy; and
  • Get some support-family, friends.

Ways to maintain a positive attitude in the workplace include:

  • Surround yourself with positive people;
  • Fill your mind with positive input;
  • Control your language and behaviour;
  • Create a routine for the day;
  • Be nice to other people-be that better person; and
  • Don’t rely on an outside source of positivity-mind over matter.

Ways to be happy at work:

  • Choose to be happy at work. Enjoy your job;
  • Do something you love every single day;
  • Take charge of your own professional and personal development. You’re the boss;
  • Take responsibility for knowing what is happening at work. Be involved;
  • Ask for feedback frequently;
  • Make only commitments you can keep; and
  • Avoid negativity and turn it to positive thoughts.

Chantal Blais is the operations manager at LaborTek Personnel/Safety Training Services. For more information, see www.labortek.com.

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