Stress at work

Our world has changed inordinately since the time when work was simple labour and toil in the fields or in local villages.

We now have:

  • High-rise buildings
  • Technological advances
  • Resources and equipment
  • Rush hour
  • Workplace tools and surroundings that would be barely recognisable by those who toiled hundreds of years ago

In our working world today, stress has become synonymous with working. Whether we work in a busy corporate office, at home, on a building site, in a busy hospital ward or at a supermarket checkout, there is no end to the demands and pressures imposed on us in our working life.

In the healthcare industry, doctors and other healthcare practitioners increasingly resent going to their workplaces because of high levels of stress and burnout[i].

What is the ripple effect of this? What is the impact on the communities and services that we all use and rely on if the practitioner themselves is in need of support?

Stress is endemic in all industries and it is widely regarded to be the number one cause of long-term illness and disease.

We are all the recipients of a myriad of services where stress is felt by the people working and offering these services. We are all affected. And hence, given the ripple effect, stress at work is now ‘a worldwide epidemic’ (as defined by the World Health Organisation and United Nations International Labour Organisation).

Stress at work is now ‘a worldwide epidemic’

December 2013

Exhaustion, depression and burnout have become normalised in our societies worldwide - at a costly expense to us all.

This article is the first of many that takes stock of what we mean by stress and how it can affect us all.

  • Is there a possibility of working in a different way, a way that does not compound or aggravate stress, but a way that may even be stress-free?

  • Is it possible to truly manage stress and better still, live without it?

  • Can we work with the pressures and demands imposed on staff and management alike and not be negatively affected?

Within the articles about stress at work, we explore health and well-being at work – what does this truly mean? How can we actually achieve this? We will discuss what it is that constitutes true and effective work-life balance and how we can gain and sustain health and vitality in our busy and high-pressured work environments.

What does well-being at work really mean? These articles look at this in detail.

As a foundation to all of this, we explore the importance of developing self-care at work - for when we truly take care of ourselves and our physical body, the body responds positively. We consider how we can treat ourselves in a loving and caring way so that we are well prepared for a busy and stressful day ahead, so much so that we do not take on the onslaught of the stress around us.

Just imagine a life where there was zero stress ... is this not worth looking into or learning more about?

Also discussed in this section is 'health and well-being at work'. Programs on health and well-being have been taking place in various guides in workplaces for some time, but are they really working, given that our stress levels as a working population are at an all-time high?

In our developing self-care at work series and in the self-care section of this website we look at what the missing ingredient is to making workplace health and well-being programs the success they could be.

We also look at other key factors that can aggravate stress at work – bullying being one of these. We live in a day and age where bullying at work is not uncommon. Do we turn a blind eye to this behaviour? How can we say no to bullying and harassment and put a true stop to it?

Stress is not our natural way of being. What if it was entirely possible to live without it?

This section, like this site as a whole, does not propose solutions or quick fixes, but an open and honest discussion as to why and how we have as a humanity got to this ill state, and what is it that we need to consider in order to heal and live life more truly. What is offered in the pages that follow, is a different and yet very practical way to support a working life that can indeed be stress free if we so choose.


  • [i]

    Mental Health, "burnout and job satisfaction among hospital and community-based mental health staff", Prosser, Johnson, Kuipers and Szmuklerg 1996

Filed under

StressWork stressHealthWork life balanceBurnout

  • By Katerina Nikolaidis, MA Hons PG Dip

    Change management professional and health & well-being practitioner, with a love for people and a fascination about life. There is so much more to us than we realise.