Recent research has revealed that work-related stress, major depression, burnout and anxiety disorders account for more than 40% of all work-related illnesses experienced by people in the workplace and on average, these conditions result in a loss of earnings estimated to be around R40,6 billion every year.
The fact of the matter is that every job has its stress triggers, but some are more stressful than others.
A new survey conducted by pharmaceutical firm Pharma Dynamics that measured job-related stress based on the physical and mental demands of the job, deadlines, the amount of travelling that is required for the job, whether the job requires working long hours, being exposed to public scrutiny, dealing with conflict and the risks associated with the job, found that pilots have the most stressful job with an average stress score of 3,74.
Mariska van Aswegen, Pharma Dynamics spokesperson puts it down to the often gruellingly long working hours and the physical and mental demands of the job.
READ MORE: Understanding stress
Next time you’re at the hairdresser, spare a thought for your hair stylist because their profession was ranked the second most stressful job among survey respondents, with a stress score of 3.
“The environment in which most salons operate is often fast-paced and exposes hair stylist to unhealthy fumes and noise which could potentially add to their already high levels of anxiety,” Van Aswegen says.
Farming was identified as the third most stressful job, followed by film directing and nursing rounding out the top five stressful jobs.
Given the precarious state of the country’s economy you’d think that economists would be experiencing high levels of stress, but according to the survey, economists were found to be the least stressed among the 40 professions who were surveyed.
Of the 2 000 survey respondents, over 31% of them described their jobs as extremely stressful, 40% said their job stress was mild and 29% described their work stress as manageable.
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“Chronic stress can have a long-term effect on the mind and body, and when stress starts interfering with your ability to live a normal life, it becomes even more dangerous. Chronic stress may also cause disease, either because of changes in your body or overeating, smoking and other bad habits people use to cope with stress,” says Van Aswegen.
“If you experience constant job strain, it increases the stress hormone, cortisol, which affects many brain functions and could in turn increase your risk of depression and anxiety.”
Here are a few stress-busting tips to help you keep your stress levels in check:
- When you’re angry, walk away before you react to a situation
- Get some exercise in. Physical activity increases the production of endorphins which will give your mood an instant boost
- Rest your mind by turning off multimedia devices completely or at least limit screen time
- Reach out to your friends and loved ones and let them know that you’re going through a rough patch at work
- Make sure you get enough sleep
- Make time to do the things that make you happy