Stress at Work

Stress at Work

‘Work-related stress is a growing problem around the world that affects not only the health and well-being of employees, but also the productivity of organisations.’ Better health (2020).

 

Work-related stress arises where work demands of various types and combinations exceed the person’s capacity and capability to cope. Work-related stress is the second most common compensated illness/injury in Australia, after musculoskeletal disorders.

 

Common causes of work-related stress include:

  • Long hours;
  • Heavy workload;
  • Tight deadlines;
  • Insufficient skills for the job;
  • Over-supervision;
  • Lack of resources;
  • Few promotional opportunities;
  • Job insecurity;
  • Conflicts with co-workers or bosses;

 

Signs and Symptoms of workplace stress:

  • Fatigue;
  • Muscular tension;
  • Headaches;
  • Heart palpitations;
  • Sleeping difficulties;
  • Gastrointestinal upsets;
  • Dermatological disorders;
  • Depression;
  • Anxiety;
  • Discouragement;
  • Irritability;
  • Pessimism;
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to cope;
  • Cognitive difficulties – reduced ability to concentrate or make decisions;
  • Increased sick days and absenteeism;
  • Aggression;
  • Diminished creativity and initiative;
  • Decrease in work performance;
  • Problems with interpersonal relationships;
  • Mood swings and irritability;
  • Disinterest;

 

How can you cope with work stress?

  • Pay attention to your work-life balance. Burnout can occur if a person focuses their energy on one area of life while neglecting everything else.
  • Relaxation strategies: We love ‘Insight Timer’ with mindfulness starting at 5 minutes, making it easy to complete a session at work.
  • Problem solving: this is an active coping strategy that teaches people to take specific steps when approaching a challenge.
  • Think about the changes you need to make at work in order to reduce your stress levels and then take action.
  • Talk over your concerns with your employer or human resources manager.
  • Make sure you are well organised. List your tasks in order of priority. Schedule the most difficult tasks of each day for times when you are fresh, such as first thing in the morning.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
  • Don’t take out your stress on loved ones. Instead, tell them about your work problems and ask for their support and suggestions.
  • Drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, won’t alleviate stress and can cause additional health problems. Avoid excessive drinking and smoking.
  • Seek professional counselling from a psychologist.
  • If work-related stress continues to be a problem, despite your efforts, you may need to consider another job or a career change. Seek advice from a career counsellor or psychologist.

 

Benefits to employers helping to prevent stress in the workplace:

  • Reduced presentation of poor mental and physical health
  • Fewer injuries, less illness and lost time
  • Reduced sick leave usage, absences and staff turnover
  • Increased productivity
  • Greater job satisfaction
  • Increased work engagement
  • Reduced costs to the employer
  • Improved employee health and community wellbeing.

 

How to help reduce stress, as the employer:

  • Ensure a safe working environment.
  • Make sure that everyone is properly trained for their job.
  • De-stigmatise work-related stress by openly recognising it as a genuine problem.
  • Discuss issues and grievances with employees, and take appropriate action when possible.
  • Devise a stress management policy in consultation with the employees.
  • Encourage an environment where employees have more say over their duties, promotional prospects and safety.
  • Organise to have a human resources manager.
  • Cut down on the need for overtime by reorganising duties or employing extra staff.
  • Take into account the personal lives of employees and recognise that the demands of home will sometimes clash with the demands of work.
  • Seek advice from health professionals, if necessary.

 

Sources: helpguide.org (2020). Harvard (2019). Better Health (2020).

Healthy Bones Week (17th – 23rd August)

Healthy Bones Week (17th – 23rd August)

In those aged 50 years and over, 66% have osteoporosis or osteopenia. There are over 173,000 broken bones each year due to poor bone health. – Healthy Bones Australia, 2021.   

 

Bone health is an important part of general health. Bones are flexible yet strong for movement and protect vital organs. Bone is living tissue with some cells breaking down the bone (osteoclasts) while other cells (osteoblasts) rebuild new bone, this is why bones can heal after a break. There are 206 bones in the body – the smallest bone is in our ear and the largest in our leg – (Healthy Bones Australia, 2021).

 

What is osteoporosis?

According to Healthy Bones Australia (2021), osteoporosis is when the structure of bone is compromised and becomes weaker and less dense, leaving the bone with an increased risk of breaking. Osteoporosis can be investigated by your doctor.

 

What are the risk factors for poor bone health?

  • Family history;
  • Low calcium levels;
  • Low vitamin D levels;
  • History of breaking bones from a minor bump or fall;
  • Coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and other malabsorption disorders;
  • Diabetes;
  • Thyroid conditions;
  • Low levels of physical activity;
  • Smoking;
  • Excessive alcohol intake;
  • Obesity;

 

According to Dairy Australia (2021), there are 3 simple steps you can take now to help build stronger bones:

  1. Consume milk, cheese and yoghurt for calcium (consult your dietician/GP for alternatives if you are allergic to dairy);
  2. Incorporate weight bearing exercises into your routine;
  3. Get safe sunshine for vitamin D;

 

In light of Healthy Bones Action Week, Dairy Australia have taken to the experts and delivered a range of videos from dieticians, nutritionists and personal trainers to help build and strengthen bones – https://www.dairy.com.au/our-programs/healthy-bones-action-week

Sleep Awareness Week (3-9th August)

Sleep Awareness Week (3-9th August)

It’s Sleep Awareness Week, the time of year when everyone should appreciate why sleep is crucial for their body, mind and overall well-being. But as a society, we do not sleep well. Resmed’s latest sleep health survey shows that 41% of Australians are not getting enough sleep, 35% wake up tired, and 23% take more than half an hour to drift off. (Resmed, 2021).

 

What are the benefits of a good night’s sleep on your work performance?

  • Increased alertness;
  • Improved memory;
  • Increased productivity;
  • Higher levels of reasoning;
  • Decreased stress levels;
  • Levelled mood;
  • Increased attention to detail;
  • More focused, reasonable thinking;
  • The ability to think more clearly;

 

On top of this, sleep can help you to:

According to healthline.com (2018)

  • Maintain a healthy body weight;
  • Decrease your risk of developing heart disease or stroke;
  • Decrease your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes;
  • Avoid depression;
  • Increase your immune function;
  • Decrease inflammation in the body;

 

What can you do to ensure a good night’s sleep?

According to sleepfoundation.org, the best tips are:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule – same bedtime and same wake up time, even on weekends;
  • Practice a relaxation bedtime ritual – A relaxing, routine activity (such as reading or meditation) conducted away from bright lights;
  • Avoid naps – power naps may get you through the day, but if you find you can’t get to sleep at bedtime, cut them out;
  • Exercise daily – vigorous exercise is best, but even light activity is better than no activity;
  • Evaluate your room – your bedroom should be cool, free from any noise or light. Consider ear plugs and eye masks if necessary;
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows – invest, full stop;
  • Avoid bright lights at night time – save this for the morning;
  • Wind down – spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. For some people, electronic devices such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep;
  • If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired – it is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the bedroom. Save your bed for sleep;
  • If you’re still having trouble sleeping – don’t hesitate to speak to your local GP.
World Immunisation Week

World Immunisation Week

Workplace Health and Safety Vic aim to keep you always informed and in light of World Immunisation Week, although not forcing any opinions, we bring some reputable information to you.

 

How do vaccines work?

According to The World Health Organisation (2020), vaccines contain weakened or inactive parts of a particular organism. When a vaccine is administered, antibodies are produced by your body and develop memory cells. From this, the body is trained to fight the specific disease, building up memory of the pathogen so it can fight it if exposed in the future. After your body has produced antibodies to fight future exposure, this is called ‘immunisation’.

 

Herd Immunity:

According to The World Health Organisation (2020), when someone is vaccinated, they are very likely to be protected against the targeted disease – however, not everyone can be vaccinated (such as people with underlying health issues or people with allergies to some vaccine components). These people can still be protected if they live in and amongst others who are vaccinated. When a lot of people in a community are vaccinated the pathogen has difficulty circulating because most of the people it encounters are immune. This is called ‘herd immunity’.

 

Flu Shots:

Workplace Health and Safety Vic offer flu clinics at your workplace. Our Nurses are highly skilled and trained and are up to date with the latest Covid-19 information. If you’d like to book your clinic, email workplacehealth@gmhg.com.au today.

World Haemophilia Day

World Haemophilia Day

 

Saturday 17th April was World Haemophilia Day which raises awareness of haemophilia, von Willebrand disease and other inherited bleeding disorders.

 

What is Haemophillia?

Haemophilia is an inherited bleeding disorder where the blood doesn’t clot properly, caused when blood does not have enough clotting factor (Haemophilia Foundation Australia, 2020).

 

Bleeding is most commonly internal, usually into the joints or muscles. These bleeding episodes may occur spontaneously, without any obvious cause, or as a result of trauma or injury. Speciailised treatment is needed to help blood clot normally.

 

What are the complications?

If internal bleeding is not stopped quickly with treatment, it will result in pain and swelling. Over a period of time bleeding into the joints and muscles can cause permanent damage such as arthritis, chronic pain and joint damage requiring surgery (Haemophilia Foundation Australia, 2020).

 

How is haemophilia diagnosed?

If haemophilia is suspected, blood tests can measure the levels of clotting factors. These tests can show the type and severity of the disease (Health Direct, 2021).

World Parkinson’s Day

World Parkinson’s Day

Sunday 11th April is  World Parkinson’s Day.

 

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation (2021), Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain.

 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms generally develop slowly over the years. The progression of symptoms is often different from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease. Some symptoms may include:

  • Impulse control disorder
  • Hallucinations
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Tremor
  • Limb rigidity
  • Gait and balance problems

 

The cause of Parkinson’s Disease remains unknown (Parkinson’s Foundation, 2021) and although there is no cure, treatment options vary and include medications and surgery. While Parkinson’s itself is not fatal, disease complications can be serious.

 

How can you support someone with Parkinson’s Disease?

  • Understand the progression of the disease
  • Learn everything you can about the disease
  • Volunteer to help
  • Get active with your friend or family member with PD
  • Help them feel ‘normal’
  • Get out of the house and grab a coffee(PD can feel lonely)
  • Listen
  • Look for worsening symptoms
  • Be patient

(Healthline.com.au, 2021).