The stress hormone, or cortisol, is the evolutionary tool that gives us our fight-or-flight response. It helps us react very quickly (useful for when our ancestors had to run from bears), but in modern times, it builds up in our bodies and causes all sorts of problems.
When your body’s stress response is activated too much, it creates medical, physical, and psychological problems. You might know that when you get stressed, you don’t think clearly, but inside so much more is happening: your thyroid function is suppressed, your ability to fight illnesses is diminished by lower immunity, and your abdominal fat can even increase.
These are just some of what chronic stress does to you. Yikes.
You probably can’t do too much to control the pressure running a business causes you, but you can become attuned to the warning signs you’re getting stressed and act. Some of the common signs are arthritis, hunger, hostility, tunnel vision, migraines, sleep deprivation, chronic fatigue, and depression.
You might get a bad headache while one of your employees experiences sleepless nights and another checks out completely. Stress has everything to do with how you and your team show up.
Think about the last year of your life. What major events happened? Think of both exciting and challenging things. They build up and create a baseline that comes with you to work each day.
Reflect on what could be influencing your stress level. These events could be a divorce or a significant change in your partner’s health. It could be a company reorganization or a windfall of cash. Maybe you borrowed money for a major purchase or defaulted on a loan. Your son or daughter may have left home, or you might have won a big industry award.
Taken together, such events predict low or high susceptibility to stress-induced illness.
Dysfunction from too much stress in your office can look like employees and colleagues arguing. One team member might have an outburst or leave the office fuming. Another becomes ill, tired, or distant.
Even so, some stress is good — while most of us might not be running from bears, cortisol can also help us meet a work deadline.
If you’re worried that your stress level is so high it is causing more problems than it’s helping, Workplace Harmony can help you assess the stressors in your life, or the ones impacting your employees’ productivity, and infuse your team with resources.
In the meantime, tune into the signs of stress in yourself and your employees. And ask: Do we need additional support?
Lauren Williams, Founder & Principle Consultant
Lauren Williams utilizes her 20 years of expertise in HR to support companies by improving and enhancing their people skills/operations, maximizing a company’s full potential. With care and passion, she focuses intently on the employee experience and how to leverage a solid community-based company culture that encourages organic employee engagement, retention, and empowerment.
Hi, I'm Lauren
I'm the founder and chief boss lady at Workplace Harmony. Welcome to New School HR!
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