Five things that may indicate your colleague needs help
Have you ever wondered if one of your colleagues may be suffering or in need of support? Or perhaps you have noticed a change in their behaviour. Let's take a look at some tell tale signals to help you recognise the signs of stress.
Becoming more withdrawn and tending to avoid social contact
People can sometimes withdraw a little and pull up the drawbridge when times get difficult. It can feel hard to keep engaged in day-to-day conversations when we are worried, had a breakup in the relationship or experienced a loss of some kind, including bereavement or job security. However, a pattern of increased withdrawal is likely to indicate your colleague is actually feeling stressed, alone, and possibly depressed. He/she might find it helpful to have the chance to talk about concerns in a confidential setting.
Getting upset easily, overreacting or acting out of character
When we are stressed, anxious or depressed we can respond in more extreme ways than we would normally. Your colleague might be more critical of others, argue more or become increasingly sensitive to any perceived criticism in the work environment. Sharing of the burden can help ease the emotional impact on your colleague and help him/her find ways to move forward.
Missing deadlines and appearing overwhelmed
Some workplace stress is normal and is necessary to give stimulation and a degree of challenge. However, when it takes over, it can affect concentration and focus, and it can impact on physical and emotional health. This can lead to letting deadlines slip and work-related tasks to pile up. That five-minute chat with your colleague asking ‘how are you?’ could be the opportunity for him/her to start to open up about their problems, and find coping strategies to deal with the demands.
Regular bouts of minor physical ailments
Regular headaches, stomach upsets, visible tensions and palpitations might be indicators your colleague feels under stress and is getting worn down. A friendly enquiry as to whether there is any way you can help could make the difference.
Is your colleague turning up to work constantly looking frazzled?
Sometimes when we have to juggle work, personal and financial concerns, it can feel a heavy load. We can feel exhausted and totally lacking in energy. Life just becomes a battle to be fought. For your colleague, the act of just turning up to work might be an achievement in itself. They might not want to disclose his/her situation to a co-worker, but might welcome advice and support in a confidential manner.
If you are spotting these signs, there are various ways LionHeart can help - do encourage your colleague to contact us.
We can offer a range of services from counselling and telephone support, legal advice, signposting and advice on other agencies to help find strategies to move forward.
If you wish to speak to a member of the LionHeart support team, call 0845 6039057.
Clare Davis is a support officer for LionHeart and has worked for the charity for almost 20 years.