Stress accounts for a massive 40% of work-related illness, so why don’t more men talk about their feelings and get help to deal with it?
Imagine life without your smartphone? If the sheer thought of it sends you into a cold sweat you’re not alone – a recent poll found nearly half of those asked1 just couldn’t imagine being without their smartphone. Whilst modern technology does make work easier, it’s not necessarily great for our stress levels as it makes it harder and harder to give ourselves time to relax, and draw away from the pressures of work.
Recent research2 published by mental health charity MIND found that 15% of us admit to reading work emails on the loo, whilst 38% check them out of work hours. But this inability to escape from work pressures is adding up to rising stress levels, affecting mental health, which in turn can affect relationships in and out of work.
Why don’t men talk about mental health?
If you’ve got a pain in your leg you go to see your doctor to get it fixed. So why not do the same when your feelings are causing a problem? A stereotypical male response to addressing mental health may be to just get on with it. For some reason there’s still a stigma attached to asking for help, and it’s considered, wrongly, as weak. But not talking about issues doesn’t mean they will go away, and opening up and talking about how you feel can be one of the strongest things you can do.
How can stress affect your life?
There are a number of different ways that stress can affect your life from physical symptoms like tiredness, headaches and indigestion to psychological changes like anxiety, aggression and low self-esteem. You may also experience behavioural changes, such as increased smoking or drinking, reckless behaviour and difficulty concentrating.
You’re not alone
If you think stress is making you ill, you’re not alone. In 2014/15 stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health. The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2014/15 was 440,000 cases according to Health and Safety Executive (HSE)3
Dealing with stress
If you’re feeling stressed by work, the first thing to do is identify the cause. If it’s caused by constantly checking e-mails, including before bed, then stop. Instead allocate time for working and time dedicated to relaxation, when you won’t check your phone. Dedicating specific evenings when you will do something you enjoy, such as a sport or a hobby, will also help you to resist the temptation to work late. Exercise is a great way to switch off your mind from work and can help you to think more clearly. Set yourself a challenge, like learning a new language or skill, to give yourself a focus away from work that will make you feel you have accomplished something.
Talking about stress
Men may be less inclined to talk about their emotional state, but talking things through can really help you to put a new perspective on a situation or worry allowing you to actively deal with your issues. Talk to friends or family about your feelings if you can, or you might find it easier to speak to a professional who is trained to listen and help you to deal with your situation.
What is counselling?
A counsellor is a professional who can help you to cope with specific problems, improve relationships or develop better ways of living. They will listen to you and can help you to sort out any issues by giving you their professional opinion. Counselling is a ‘talking therapy’ and can be your regular time to talk about any troubles you have in a safe and confidential environment, and will help you to understand your behaviour and feelings better.
If you’d like to find out more about how talking to a professional could help you deal with stress or any of life’s twists and turns, contact our specialist Psychiatry team.
To book your consultation call us on 0800 015 2217.