Every day we are subjected to different situations that test our ability to respond. These situations can range from pressures and great demands from our work responsibilities, family, etc.
Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In small episodes, it can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid a dangerous situation or meet a deadline. But when it lasts over time it can seriously affect your health.
Stress helped our ancestors survive when faced with a threat. Their senses alerted them to imminent danger, and in response to this, the brain commanded the body to prepare for fight or flight, to deal with the threat. This increased their heart rate and lung capacity. The blood was concentrated in the necessary muscles, and it facilitated the preparation for the physical response.
So when is stress negative?
This happens when the person feels that they cannot face what they believe are their responsibilities.
In this article, I cover the types of stress that exist (which is good and which is not so good), the myths that surround it, the most common causes and symptoms, and the best recommendations to avoid falling into serious health problems.
What are the types of stress associated with the Night Shift?
Although it may seem crazy to you, there are different types of stress, below I covered the 2 most common
The most common stress. It occurs when dealing with demands and pressures from the recent past and anticipated demands from the near future. Acute stress is positive, becoming excited in small doses, helping in many cases to avoid dangerous situations.
This type of stress usually occurs when we do sports of a certain risk such as surfing, diving, and skiing.
If we take it to the extreme it can lead to serious consequences.
You immediately realize that you are in a stressful situation because the change is brutal and sudden in time.
Episodes of acute stress are suffered by those who:
Live in permanent chaos and crisis
They are always on the run
Always are late
They take on too many tasks
They cannot organize the pile of self-imposed tasks
It is common to see people who experience this type of stress overreact, moody, irritable, anxious, or tense, and can become hostile.
Just as acute stress can be exciting, chronic stress is not at all. In fact, it is the stress that consumes people day after day. It can destroy your mind, and body completely in the long term.
It occurs when a person does not see the way out of a situation of extreme sadness. It’s the stress of relentless pressure for seemingly endless periods of time. Having no hope, the person abandons the search for solutions.
The worst aspect of chronic stress is that the person gets used to it. It is a type of stress that has been growing little by little and has become so familiar that it can even make a person feel comfortable.
If you find yourself in this type of situation, stop reading this article and go to a professional as soon as possible. The consequences can be very serious.
Myths about Stress
As with any issue, there are various myths around stress that need to be identified to avoid making mistakes when managing it.
Stress is the same for everyone
Each of us experiences stress differently. What is stressful for one person may not be for another. Each of us responds totally differently to a stimulus.
Stress is always bad
Stress can be the spice of life. Tell me, what do you think you feel when you ride a roller coaster? And right after, how do you feel?
The question is how you manage that stress. Well-managed stress makes us happy and productive, mishandled it can lead to serious consequences.
There is nothing you can do about stress, it is everywhere.
If you plan properly, you are much less likely to experience stress.
On the other hand, when you plan badly and stress is handled incorrectly, all problems tend to seem the same and it seems to be everywhere.
The most popular stress reduction techniques are the ones that work best
Each person is different and, just as each situation affects them in a different way, the solution to apply in each case will also be different. A customized solution is the most appropriate for each case.
There are no universal techniques to reduce stress.
If there are no symptoms, there is no stress
There are certain medications that can camouflage the symptoms of stress, which does not mean that you are stress-free.
Only the most serious symptoms of stress require attention
With this, you assume that headaches, stomach problems, and back pain, can be ignored without much problem.
Really these “small” symptoms are the alarms that tell you that your life is drifting and you should start to find a solution as soon as possible.
What are some of the causes of stress at work?
When you suffer from stress at work, there are several possible triggers:
Working long hours
Not taking breaks
Bad sleeping habits
Little or no exercise
Conflicting decisions or requests
Lack of organization
A feeling of not participating in project decision-making
The shift makes it difficult for you to socialize
Difficult customers, patients, coworkers
Fear of failure
A significant change in the workplace
What are the symptoms of stress to look out for?
As I told you in the myths section, not all symptoms have to be present to detect stress, not even the majority.
Read this list and analyze carefully if any, in particular, may be affecting you:
Frequent aches and pains
Problems in personal relationships
Feeling of discontent at work
Frequent feelings of anger or explosiveness
Diarrhea or constipation
Lack of energy or concentration
Stiff neck or jaw
Using alcohol or drugs to relax
Weight loss or gain
How to combat stress at work?
Now that you know what stress is, what causes it, and some of its symptoms, I am going to list a few things you can apply to combat it starting today.
Based on your behavior and habits
What does stress mean to you?
How did you identify that you’re stressed?
What are the signs in your particular case?
How are your thoughts or behavior different from when you feel good?
Continue to answer these questions for a few days and keep track of your responses which can be done on the notes app on your phone or a dedicated notebook.
What situations usually lead you to this state?
What are they related to? (specific project, work relations, personal relations, finance issues…)
Identify the situations that you can’t control
When you accept that you can’t do anything about a situation, you put stress aside and start acting in your action zone.
Learn to detect your signs of stress
Not all of us suffer from the same symptoms when we get stressed, so you should carefully study which ones directly affect you.
Identify how you handle stress
Determine if you are using unhealthy behaviors in response to stress such as drinking alcohol, eating foods high in sugar, eating a lot/little, smoking…
Are you making inappropriate decisions when feeling overwhelmed? If so, avoid short-term pleasure
Foods high in sugar
Oversleeping or not getting enough sleep
Do one thing at a time
If you find that you’re making poor decisions in response to stress, have bad habits, and want to change these behaviors, don’t try to challenge them all at once.
Change one habit at a time and it will be much easier to achieve the goal of reducing stress at work.
You can start by creating the habit of spending 10 minutes each day focusing on your breath. Take deep breaths and you will immediately notice how you relax. It is a perfect exercise to control a stressful situation when it comes to you.
Then try to dedicate yourself to fully focus on the task you are doing at all times. We tend to be doing a task and thinking about other things, which leads us to do nothing in full awareness and lose concentration easily.
How about trying to eat without putting on the TV in the background? Focus only on eating, without thinking about anything. You will see how you enjoy it and it suits you much better than swallowing the races without hardly chewing.
Try these relaxation techniques to slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.
Change your perspective
Stop seeing problems as such. From now on they must be challenges and the key question when finding one will be:
How can I solve this challenge?
For any contrary situation, take it as a learning experience and ask yourself: what can I learn from this experience to avoid it in the future?
Take care of your diet
By eating healthy you will recharge your body and mind. Your mind will be fresher and you will be able to face the challenges in a more positive way.
Good sleep is crucial for any living creature, and especially important if you work the night shift. Make sure to at least get 6 to 8 hours of sleep.
This is one of the best ways to deal with stress. When you exercise you release endorphins, which makes you feel good.
The ideal would be to do at least 30 minutes of exercise each day but even if it is just taking a short walk will help.
Build strong relationships and seek support
One of the great benefits of applying networking is that when you need help, you will always have a helping hand.
Don’t keep all the pressure to yourself. If you are constantly in a state of stress and you cannot share it with anyone, there will come a time when you will explode and fall into chronic stress and that is a serious problem that can only be addressed by professionals.
Regardless of the type of stress, you are experiencing following the tips above can make a big difference in your life, however, if after implementing them you don’t feel better or if you realized you may be suffering from chronic stress seek professional help immediately.