Happiness at work is sometimes difficult to find and lots of different factors can make the work environment a toxic one. Sensitive to all these situations and the stress that they create, the body can sometimes provide some warning signs that we need to listen to so we don’t become too overwhelmed.
Being easily awoken or suddenly waking up in the middle of the night thinking about things you have to do, insomnia… If these sleep problems are repetitive, they can be connected to stress caused by work and can be a tell-tale sign that you should change something in your professional life.
When we have stressful jobs, ‘our nervous systems are constantly on edge,’ according to clinical psychologist, Monique Reynolds to the HuffPost. When confronted with this threat, the brain floods the body with adrenaline and other hormones which can cause muscle pains, even when you spend the day sat at a desk.
In a stressful environment such as at work, muscles respond and contract, like a defence mechanism. This can also cause painful, chronic stiffness in our shoulders, our neck and even our head, which can lead to migraines that definitely shouldn’t be ignored.
A threat to your mental health
Stress at work and the exacerbated supervisor authority can worsen some mental health problems that already exist, such as bulimia and depression.
‘For someone who might be a worrier in a really toxic work environment, that worry will often exacerbate to cross the clinical threshold,’ explains Monique Reynolds. A sense of unfairness in a business or an unfair workload can also increase stress and put your mental health at risk.
A weaker immune system and permanently feeling tired
Constant colds can be a sign of a weakened immune system because of chronic stress from work. Furthermore, feeling so exhausted that no amount of rest can stop it is something you shouldn’t ignore because it could possibly be a sign of a toxic work environment.
Digestion problems and an affected appetite
Stress can also manifest itself into indigestion, bloating or constipation. When disturbed, the intestinal flora can cause your mood to change.
The brain also plays a role in your appetite since when sudden and powerful stress hits, adrenaline floods the body and instructs the body to stop digestion. And conversely, the adrenal gland releases cortisol when confronted with prolonged periods of stress which is a hormone that makes you crave some foods quite badly, especially sugary foods, which ease the emotions and reactions caused by stress.
A loss of interest in sex
A lack of time and a heavy workload sometimes lowers, and can even make us lose, our sexual desire.
‘There has to be a certain amount of relaxation in order to allow the arousal feeling to arise,’ claims Monique Reynolds to the HuffPost, which explains this weakening in your libido when faced with chronic stress caused by a work environment.
What are the solutions to combat stress at work?
Breaks are first of all the best thing to destress, even if just for five or ten minutes.
‘When we don’t give our nervous system an opportunity to relax and rest itself, it starts to cause long-term damage,’ explains Monique Reynolds on the subject. Going out with friends, exercising and doing lots of other things can be as good methods as any to help you relax.
Furthermore, mindfulness allows you to reduce your negative thoughts and thus take a break in a stressful environment, especially when faced with unwarranted criticism or a bad look from our colleagues. Finally, if your situation has become completely unbearable, maybe it’s time to rethink your professional career and focus on yourself for a bit. Although it might sound extremely difficult to do, resigning could be the best thing you ever do and could allow you to escape from a toxic environment.
Take a look at the video above for more...