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Workplace Trauma: 3 Signs You May Have Been Affected and What to Do About It

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

You walk into work and the tension in the air is palpable. You try to put on a brave face, but you can't help but feel like something is just not right. This feeling only gets worse as the day goes on. Maybe you've been left out of team communication or events, or your manager doesn't seem to care about the problems you have presented. You may feel like other employees are treated differently than you, or that you're being targeted by members of your team.

If this sounds familiar, then you may be a victim of workplace trauma. Workplace trauma is a real thing, and it can leave employees feeling traumatized and trapped. In this blog post, we will discuss 3 signs that you've been affected by workplace stress, which in highest severity may be workplace trauma.

1. You feel sick before starting your work day.

We aren't talking symptoms of COVID-19 or about being sick with the cold or flu. If you happen to notice on the days you have to work, you experience physical illness, you may be experiencing elevated anxiety or be a victim of work place trauma. When under stress, our bodies provide cues to alert us it is under stress. When the body is under stress, cortisol levels are increased which deactivates functions of the body which are considered non-essential. Why? Your body is reserving the needed resources for fight or flight mode. If your body is in fight of flight mode for an extended period of time, this may create memory, digestive, sleep, and other body functioning issues.

2. You are filled with a heavy sense of dread regarding aspects of your job.

Maybe you have an incredible job in which you enjoy your responsibilities and your duties. Or maybe it is just the opposite; you hate your job but need a steady form of income. It could be your team members, or the management which you fall under.

When it comes down to it, you feel a sense of heaviness when it comes to thinking of your duties and responsibilities or when you have to interact with members of your team or clients served. Heavy feelings can lead to a sense of being trapped. It's important not ignore your mental and emotional state, as it could have long-term effects on the way you think about yourself, members of team or even the organization for which you work.

Unresolved stress and workplace trauma can lead to a decreased job performance, low engagement in the workplace, and relationship challenges with colleagues. Before you know it, you may also begin to experience a depressed mood due to your reduced job performance.

3. You don't recognize yourself.

The stress of a stressful workplace can take its toll on your mental health and wellbeing. You might find yourself feeling isolated from others, with no motivation at work or home - which is not an uncommon experience for those who experience workplace trauma.

Symptoms such as depression/anxiety may manifest themselves in different ways. Symptoms of depression include loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, isolation of withdrawal, change in appetite sometimes with significant weight gain or loss, with difficulty falling or staying asleep.

Symptoms of anxiety include racing thoughts, difficulty focusing and making decisions, change in appetite, feeling tense and unable to relax, and difficulty falling and staying asleep. Increased anxiety can turn into panic attacks. These symptoms can make it difficult to live the quality of life you desire for self and can make it difficult to meet career goals.


The good news is that the negative effects of your work place doesn't have to be permanent. Below are steps you can take to help work through workplace trauma.

Solution 1: If these symptoms sound familiar, you can be the voice to eradicate change. If your employer does not have an Employee Resource Group (ERG), you can be the employee to start this group. An ERG is an employee-led, volunteer group designed to foster a diverse, inclusive, environment to create a safe place to discuss employer related issues. The participants in ERG's usually have commonalities such as gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, lifestyle, or interest. ERG's can make you feel as if you are not alone with situations you are facing.

Solution 2: When you have a problem at work and need help from your boss, there are many ways to go about solving the issue. You can talk it through with them directly to see if a resolution can occur. If you feel the issue cannot be directly resolved with your direct supervisor, it may be appropriate to consult with upper level leadership. Lastly, if these options are unavailable or unsuccessful, then consulting with Human Resources will provide more insight for how to best resolve problems in both parties' interests. Remember, issues can't be resolved if you are unwilling to talk about them.

Solution 3: It may be helpful to start an Employee Resource Group (ERG). Employee Resource Groups are employee-lead groups who band together based on similar characteristics and life experiences. These groups can offer to support amongst staff, and may be the catalyst to eradicate positive changes within the organization. These groups are often diverse and inclusive of all who gather. If an ERG doesn't exist, it may be helpful to start one within your organization.

Solution 4: We all want to be happy at work and have fulfilling careers. However, if your job is not aligning with you personally or professionally, then it may be time for a change of scenery! Consider the possibilities this change may create; an opportunity within an organization which better suits both personal goals as well as professional aspirations. Remember the old adage: When one door closes, another door may open.

Conclusion paragraph: It is important to remember that workplace stress/trauma can have long-term effects on mental health. If you are feeling like your job is no longer a good fit for you, it may be time to make some decisions about your employment. Weighing the pros and cons of staying at a job where you experience workplace trauma is never easy, but it is necessary for our well-being. Remember, you are not alone in this process. The team at CALM CUES, LLC have developed CALM CUES™ to aid in management of stress for clarity in stressful situations. Our team is here to support you through every step of overcome stress in the workplace.

Feeling stressed or unsafe in your workplace? Give us a shout by clicking the button below.

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