Career Advice

How Much Stress is Too Much?

Posted by Tammy
min read
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Stressed? It seems to be everybody’s favourite line. “I’m so busy”. “Work is so stressful at the moment”. “How have you been? – Oh, you know, stressed”. Although we say that we are all so stressed, are we actually? And how much is too much?

 There are some who will tell you that they thrive on stress. They love working to tight deadlines. After all, diamonds are made under pressure, right? Then there are those who will start immediately on a project that is due in ten weeks’ time, but they’ll still be feeling stressed throughout the whole journey.

Firstly, what should be noted, is that you should try to reduce your stress levels as soon as possible when you’re feeling it. Stress has been shown to be incredibly detrimental to our health. Use whatever works for you to reduce it; be it exercise, a hobby or the enjoyment of the company of some friends.

What does stress do?

Stress has been linked to an increase in poor lifestyle habits such as limited physical activity, reduced sleep and skipping meals. It also raises our cortisol hormone levels which can cause an increase in weight, particularly around the midsection. Job stress has also even been linked to increased risk of depression and heart disease [1].

Secondly, what should also be noted is that unfortunately, there are certain amounts of stress involved in most jobs. However, it’s important to recognise when it is getting too much. So how can you tell?

There are a few red flags to look out for that can indicate when you are just too far under the pump. Headaches, muscle tension, neck/back pain, upset stomach, fatigue for no reason, lack of concentration/focus, irritability, short temper and forgetfulness are all indicators to watch out for [2].

So how much stress is too much? Well, if you’re starting to show the above mentioned signs, chances are that they are starting to or significantly affecting your productivity at work. If you’ve been trying to manage it but have not yet succeeded, it could actually be a good idea to check in with your boss, have a discussion and potentially look at taking a long weekend to have some much needed relaxation time. By taking one day off, you may be improving your productivity by a mile.