As individuals, we often define ourselves through our work posts, and job titles as what we do for a living becomes the primary aspect of our life.
In the past, there was a fixed boundary between our work and our homes. Humans worked in fields or places where near their homes but were not a part of their homes. Also, they could only work as long as the sun was up, but thanks to electricity, we humans could now work as long as we wished.
Nowadays, we have various gadgets which we can carry out to perform our tasks, and after putting in extra hours at work, we are also able to bring our tasks at home.
At this point in time, we are the generation that spends most of their time working to earn our living.
But all that work is put in for elevating the standard of living and improving our socio-economic conditions, so isn’t all that work good news?
We agree that working harder at work and logging in more tasks can get you promotions, and even increase your wages in the short term, but in the long way run, so much work is nothing but bad news.
This is because our human body has certain limitations as well as restrictions, and we can force ourselves to work non-stop for a while, but after a while the workload can lead to various problems, stress being the major one among them.
According to this notable survey, about 80% of people feel stressed while they are working at their jobs and 40% of them report that their jobs are the major cause of stress in their life.
When the majority of people are experiencing stress, it becomes important to know more about the after-effects of the stress on the people.
In the very same survey, it was found that the effects of stress are experienced more on people’s physical health than any other area of their life.
Some people also report that they face family issues as well as money problems due to excessive workload, but the primary concern is often health.
Let’s look at the deep impacts of job stress on a person’s physical health first.
Increased risk and worsening of heart conditions:
People who experience job stress report having extremely rapid heart rate and even their resting heart rate is very high, even when they sleep. Lots of stress also leads to chest pain and if the person is already suffering from a heart-related condition, they may even be at an increased risk of having a heart attack.
When we are working for extra hours, it often happens that the first thing that we cut down on is sleep. Due to this, our work steals away the hours that we are supposed to spend by sleeping and resting our body and our brain.
We sleep less, and if we have excessive job stress, it is very likely that it could lead to insomnia which does not let you sleep properly.
Apart from having difficulty sleeping at night, you may feel drowsy and even fall asleep during the day while you are working or while you are reading a report.
This damages your sleep cycle as well as your body’s ability to rejuvenate and reenergize you after a deep sleep.
People who have to face such sleeping circumstances due to job stress have symptoms similar to people who have primary sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and even the shift worker sleep disorder. But while it is possible to seek treatments such as Modalert for relieving the symptoms of these conditions, few people ask for help if their stress is keeping them up at night.
You will notice that workload stress often makes headaches a common occurrence in most workplaces. In fact, headaches are considered to be so common that people hardly even consider that they could be an indication of the stress ruining their bodies, slowly, one part at a time.
Apart from headaches, another common complaint that can have its roots in workplace stress is backache. As we often sit for long hours at our computer screens or desks without any movement our backs tend to suffer, but even the stress plays a role in making our backs hurt and over necks feel stiff.
You may feel your legs, especially knees feel weak after or during a stressful workday or your whole body may ache.
Weaker Immune System:
Stress tends to have an impact on almost all parts of your body and you will find that because of continuous job stress, people fall sick more often than usual.
People with a weaker immune system are much more likely to catch viruses and bacteria and suffer from infections easily.
Various Problem with Digestion:
One of the most common effects of stress on digestion and stomach is inflammation, you may observe that you may suffer from acidity more often if you have been stressed for a while.
You may even have episodes where you may not feel hungry at all and in other types you may binge eat items that are unhealthy for you.
Lack of Energy and Physical Weakness
This is one of the most common symptoms of stress and people often write it off as tiredness, but if you are feeling weak and low on energy for a while, it could be the effects of stress on your body.
You can easily tell that stress has cut down your body’s ability to rejuvenate, recharge, and heal your body and you may feel weak and tired even after you have slept well and eaten nourishing foods.
These are some of the effects of stress on your body and if you have been experiencing these symptoms after stressful days at work, you may want to look into ways to manage job stress better. There are certain cases where you may even need medical treatment for these symptoms.
But apart from your physical health, stress also has severe consequences for your mental health. And most people will easily identify and acknowledge the physical effects of stress on their bodies, but the mental effects are ignored.
Let’s inform ourselves of the mental effects of the stress that comes with the excessive workload at the workplace.
Difficulty in winding down and Relaxing:
When there is too much stress at work, you may not be able to relax well even if you want to rest and rejuvenate.
This is the reason that people are unable to relax and rejuvenate themselves easily after a long time of being under stress. You must have seen people take a week off after a few months of regular work to rest, but even if they rest for the entire week, it is very likely that they won’t be able to relax well or sleep as deep as you may want to.
Forgetfulness or Memory Fog:
You may have noticed that it is easy to forget your lunch box at home if you are constantly stressed about the projects that you have to do at your office. You may forget tiny details regarding your work such as sending a form or filing something up before the deadline is over.
Stress can actually kill your brain cells and decrease your ability to retain information and use them in your life. Such people have higher chances of developing Alzheimer’s diseases unless proper treatment is not sought, and there are medications such as Modalert which can help in clearing the brain fog and increase the brain’s capacity to collect and retain information, but it must be coupled with proper stress management.
Irritability and Increased Anger:
Stress can actually manifest itself in the form of anger and this kind of stress may not be easily visible at work, because most people tend to control their emotions around their superiors at work. But the family members may become the victim of the irritability and anger that springs from the stress that is a product of your job or your business. Many unreported cases of physical abuse of spouses and children is a result of unmanaged and excessive job stress.
And about 25% of the people who participated in this study said that they feel that they need to shout or scream just to let out the pent-up stress that has become a part of their work life.
It is even shocking that about 18% of these people have received verbal threats of physical abuse or been subjected to verbal abuse by some superior having a hard time dealing with workload and the stress that comes with such high-ranking positions.
These are some of the effects of stress on a person’s mental health and it does not stop there, people who suffer from depression or anxiety may develop worse systems if they are under extreme job pressure.
Now that we have discussed a few physical and mental effects of job stress, you may be able to identify if your job is stressing you so bad that you are causing long term damage to your body and brain.
Now, to some people, these effects on their health are seen as badges of honor, a matter to boast about as how hard they work or how dedicated they are. But these consequences of stress on your body and mind further have effects on your work and your productivity.
Let’s look at ways stress can bring down the graph of your career in the long way run.
Excessive Job Stress Can Prompt Procrastination
About 12% of people call in sick on days when they feel overwhelmed by stress, and now we recognize that our mental health is equally important as our physical health but we never hear people take days off to take care of their mental health.
And people may also avoid working on certain tasks which makes them anxious increasing their workload which only adds to the stress flow. Stress may also lead to poor quality of work and if you work with machines or produce goods, you may even ruin raw materials. Thus, excessive job stress is bad news for your long-term effectiveness and productivity at work.
Stress Tends to Slow Down Your Brain’s Thinking Capacity and Curb your creativity
If you have been stressed for a long time, you will start having trouble recalling things in your mind and it can have an impact on your long and short-term memory. Coming up with solutions and critical thinking in moments of crisis will be almost impossible. Many studies and researches have shown proof that stress destroys the grey matter of the cerebellum of the brain which is crucial for healthy thinking and quick decision making.
If you work in sectors that require you do quick analytics and quick decision making, stress could cause you to make grave miscalculations and make impulsive decisions.
Reduce Concentration Span and Enthusiasm for Work
Any work, physical or mental, requires a certain amount of focus and enthusiasm which allows the person to zero in on the task at hand and complete it as it is required.
But if stress is reigning over your mental health, you will have difficulty in focusing on the tasks at hand and you will get easily distracted, annoyed, or disturbed by almost anything ranging from loud noises to your co-workers having a pleasant chat in the next cubicle.
You may even be tempted to procrastinate by checking out social media or even taking undue bathroom or coffee breaks.
And it does take the fun out of doing your job, and about 87% of people who work in fields that they have a passion for a report that they lose enthusiasm for their work due to excessive stress and even cause them to doubt their decisions about their career.
Unless the effects of stress caused due to jobs are not recognized and their symptoms are not identified, people will tend to brush off work stress.
Companies should have a department that keeps a tap on people’s workloads and has regular compulsory sessions where the employees can talk about the extent of their workload and the stress associated so that the stress does not lead to burnout.
Having a stress management plan and even adding relaxing zones in the office infrastructures will go long way in improving the potential of your employees as well as the performance of your organization.
Individuals too have to prioritize their health above all and have open conversations with their superiors regarding the work expectations and your capacity to fulfil them.
Signing up for more than you can chew and then burning candles at both ends will be like lighting a fire to your health, which burns your body and brain slowly and even makes your career fall apart in the long way run.