Julia Bellerby
Counselling, Psychotherapy, Coaching and Counsellor supervision
Grad. Dip Counselling, Cert. Counsellor Supervision, Dip. Coaching
Mobile: 07939 255425  |  Email: Click here

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Call me on 07939 255425 or click here to contact me by email.

Work Related Stress

Over the past 20 or so years the word “stress” has entered our vocabulary. We feel stressed after a tough day at work; people need time off work for stress-related difficulties; we are more aware that headaches, high blood pressure and coping mechanisms such as drinking too much may be connected.

We now know that catching stress early and managing it can prevent much more serious problems and this is where counselling could play a vital role.

Stress, rather like happiness, is hard to pin down. It means different things to different people. It has many symptoms ranging from finding it hard to concentrate, through to breathing difficulties and mental breakdown.

Stress can kill you. Some of the more damaging ways we try to manage stress will make matters worse - such as smoking; over or under-eating or abusing alcohol or drugs. If you’re stressed at work you may find yourself caught in a vicious circle whereby you work too hard, find it hard to relax, sleep badly and become overtired, find yourself less able to do your job, lose confidence in your abilities then work even harder to try to catch up.

Not all stress is bad: it can be positive, pushing us to perform and achieve.

So why do some people seem to thrive on stressful situations, while others buckle at relatively minor events?
  • Your upbringing may have left you with high or low levels of self-esteem (how you think about yourself) and self-confidence (how you come across to others). People with low levels of self-belief may struggle to cope with life’s challenges.
  • How good are you at relaxing? The so-called Type A personality is competitive, easily angered, tense and always rushing…and more prone to high stress levels than the more laid-back Type B personality.
  • And what are the external factors that might be affecting your ability to cope with stress: relationships, job, health? If several different areas of your life are difficult at the moment, your ability to cope with each one is reduced.

Now let’s look at how much stress is affecting you.

The early stages may include rushing, missing meals, feeling anxious and frustrated. If stress continues at the same level, you may start to work long hours, struggle with sleep and use food, alcohol or drugs to try to bring comfort. You may find your concentration and memory get worse and that it’s hard to make decisions or prioritise. Problems may seem overwhelming.

Physical signs of stress include breathing difficulties, headaches, feeling or being sick, diarrhoea, shaking, sweating and reduced ability to fight off illness. You should see a doctor if you have chest pains, increased blood pressure, recurring headaches, digestive or breathing problems. Emotionally you may feel fearful, angry, withdrawn, tearful, numb or depressed. Unless you make changes, you may start to feel unable to cope – so called “burnout”. If not tackled at this stage it’s possible to find yourself unable to function normally in society – known as “breakdown”.

In counselling you will be able to think about what needs changing: this might mean more relaxation, a healthier lifestyle, finding ways to be more assertive at work or in relationships or managing your time differently. Often it won’t be one big thing that helps you reduce stress but many smaller things.

Here are a few ideas:
  • talking more about your worries
  • starting a new hobby trying relaxation techniques
  • taking a holiday treating yourself
  • starting an exercise programme
  • reducing negative coping mechanisms such as smoking or alcohol
  • learning to be more assertive
  • saying no to extra work – learning your limits
  • doing whatever makes you feel a bit better
  • make lists of things you want to achieve
  • looking for something more spiritual out of life

You may be the sort of person who can easily set yourself goals and achieve them. But stress can sap your motivation. Counselling can give you extra help you in setting the right goals and finding the motivation to carry them through.

Julia Bellerby - Counselling, Psychotherapy, Coaching and Counsellor Supervision in York, and worldwide by phone, skype or online

Julia Bellerby
Grad. Dip. Counselling, Cert. Counsellor Supervision, Dip. Coaching, BACP Accredited
Contact me on 07939 255425 or click here to contact me by email.