What’s your Stress-onality?

To manage stress, we first have to realise that we are feeling chronically stressed and that something needs to change.


The “Everything’s Fine”

You’re not stressed, you’re just busy. It will all calm down and be fine after this meeting, project, month … year… maybe. You still smile and say yes to everyone, you like to be helpful. You try not to think about the fact that you have more work than one person could ever manage and that you are burning the candle at both ends while trying to also do your best for family and friends. Each day you smile, but that smile no longer spreads to your eyes or your heart, each day creeps further from genuine enjoyment towards coping and survival.

The “everything’s fine” is possibly one of the most dangerous stress-onalities as the person risks not addressing their stress until it all gets way too much, and they end up ill. If you know you are prone to denying that it’s all getting on top of you and that you are becoming stressed, make sure you take some time each week to take stock and make sure you are okay. Remember, self-care is not letting people down. You can’t pour from an empty cup – as they say.

The “Grumpy Goose”

You might admit you have a lot on your plate, but you might not realise that you’ve been short with colleagues and snapping at your family. Every little thing now irritates you, and you can’t sweat the small stuff. Email rants (sent or deleted) are plenty, and you end a lot of communications with just “regards”. Your bad days are running into one another and worst of all you don’t realise you are pushing the people closest to you away.
Most people don’t realise that irritability can be an indicator that someone is stressed out and not coping. You won’t get asked if you are okay because people will begin to assume this is just who you are and, if they dare to ask once, it is unlikely that they will make that mistake again. If you have been feeling irritable lately ask yourself, are you stressed? Has work become too much to handle?

The “Sick day hideaway”

You might admit you have a lot on your plate, but you might not realise that you’ve been short with colleagues and snapping at your family. Every little thing now irritates you, and you can’t sweat the small stuff. Email rants (sent or deleted) are plenty, and you end a lot of communications with just “regards”. Your bad days are running into one another and worst of all you don’t realise you are pushing the people closest to you away.

Most people don’t realise that irritability can be an indicator that someone is stressed out and not coping. You won’t get asked if you are okay because people will begin to assume this is just who you are and, if they dare to ask once, it is unlikely that they will make that mistake again. If you have been feeling irritable lately ask yourself, are you stressed? Has work become too much to handle?

The “Spontaneous Weeper”

You probably know that you are maybe a little pushed at work, but you don’t realise just how difficult things have become. You’ll admit that you have maybe been a little more emotional recently, but will explain it away, maybe it’s recent events, hormones, watching Bambi with the kids too many times. Now every little thing has you shedding a tear from dropping your toast and the photocopier breaking to those animal rescue adverts on TV, and you constantly feel on an emotional rollercoaster.

If you are male you are probably careful to hide these emotional moments for fear of ridicule or disrespect, if you are female, you often have them dismissed as some part of being female, however, if your work is causing you to be overemotional you may well be significantly stressed. People naturally express differing levels of emotion, ask yourself, is this normal for you?

The “I’ll Do It Later”

There’s an ever-growing pile of paperwork you’re sure you will get to at some point in the next century, deadlines are more like undeadlines that can shamble zombie-like to later dates and seeing an email marked urgent ensures that it will not be opened for months. You will seem to most around you like a happy and functional member of the team until it all catches up with you or the pile or paperwork falls over and crushes you. You won’t want to admit that you have disengaged from your responsibilities and possibly won’t even fully realise that you have, but deep down you know that your boss is eventually going to cotton on to your decreasing performance.

If the above sound familiar, then you may be in avoidance mode, disassociating yourself from your work to cope with the stress. Obviously, some people are natural procrastinators, but knowing yourself is essential, is this amount of procrastination normal for you or is your work stressing you to the point where you are avoiding critical elements in your role to cope?

Whatever your stress-onality, they are symptoms of the same physiological response that readies your body for flight or fight. If this state is maintained for too long, it can cause physical and psychological harm to you, so it is important to spot signs of stress early and make changes to restore normality. Knowing how you manifest stress or your stress-onality will ensure that you can recognise when your work is starting to cause you chronic stress. This is the first vital step in tackling workplace stress.

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019