How often do you dismiss a co-worker’s stress? According to the Center For Disease Control, work-related stress can cause increased blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and even hypertension, heart attack and stroke.
While the factors of workplace stressors can change, the effects are long lasting in and out of the office. We spoke with Dr. Adeola Adelayo, psychiatrist at Banner Behavioral Health Hospital, to learn about common factors and signs of workplace stress and how you can help a stressed-out coworker.
Common Signs of Stress
Everyone's stress takes a different physical and emotional toll on their bodies. If you notice a typically engaged coworker suddenly become quieter and isolated, or even irritable and short-tempered, this can be a red flag of a stressed-out coworker.
“The biggest sign of stress is disengagement in the office, or in meetings” says Dr. Adelayo.
The Difference Between Working Hard and Overextending
If you’re passionate about your profession and quality of work, it can be easy to let your work take over your personal time. But, how do you know if you’re working too hard?
When asked, Dr. Adelayo says “That is the biggest way to know someone is overworked and overextended is by their personality. If their personality is the same as normal and they are working hard toward a goal, that’s healthy. If they are overextended and their personality is changing, they are overworked. Common signs of overextension can be lethargy, disengagement, frequent absence, productivity decrease and frequent illness.”
When to Seek Help
Now that you understand the signs of stress and overextension, what are the next steps? Dr. Adelayo gives you a few options to use when addressing a stressed-out coworker.
“The biggest thing you can do is talk to them. Ask: ‘Our jobs are stressful, and I noticed you are quiet in that meeting, is something going on?’ Many companies now have wellness programs that include covered therapy visits and calls. Get the coworker connected to those programs or services if they are open to it. If their behavior is affecting the workplace and they aren’t open to help and support and the hostility or negativity persists, get a leader or Human Resources representative involved.”
By taking care of your mental health, you can better support your professional and personal life. If you or a coworker are stressed out and feeling unsure how to cope, meet with a Banner Mental Health Specialist near you to discuss a treatment plan and medication options.