26 Clear Signs Your Job Is Causing Too Much Stress

signs of stress at work

I have seen an increasing amount of posts on social media regarding stress at work at the moment. This is excellent news, because at least people are talking about it. We have a lot more to learn about stress at work including how to manage it better and just how detrimental it can be to our health. Nothing is more important than your health. No client, deadline, promotion or presentation is worth more than your health and happiness.

One of the main problems with stress at work is that people don’t accept it’s happening until it’s too late. They let stress grind them down for so long that they crumble completely, which makes it harder to recover from.

If people could get the help they need earlier, they may not tumble so far down the cliff. They just might be able to climb back up again. 

Sometimes you can experience subtle signs of stress and not really notice. You carry on as normal and try and battle on. Then your symptoms get worse and you don’t want to admit you are stressed/depressed/anxious because you think your colleagues and boss will obviously think you are weak.

Although there is definitely still stigma around mental health at work, you can get the help you need. The people that judge you are not worth your time. Don’t let it get to the point where you feel like the world is going to end.

Trying to put on a brave face won’t get you anywhere, it will only make things worse. Instead, you need to make some serious changes.

I experienced severe anxiety at work, and it temporarily caused my mental health to take a huge nose dive. I let my determination to succeed and drive to climb up the career ladder get in the way of my happiness.

I have now discovered that what I thought would make me happy (getting promoted, rising in the ranks, getting paid more etc.) was in fact partly what made me miserable. What motivates me these days is enjoying what I do, delivering excellent work and achieving a good work life balance.

I think back to when I wasn’t coping at work and was doing something that made me miserable and shiver. It wasn’t a great time in my life. However, I want to try and help others, so I have tried to remember, in considerable detail, what it was like. I’ve also done a little research on the signs of stress at work and added a few extra things in that I didn’t personally experience, but a lot of people do.

Hopefully a lot of people can relate to these signs, and maybe even a couple of people who won’t accept they are ridiculously stressed will read this and realise something needs to change. Here’s 26 signs your job is causing too much stress:

1. You have that sick feeling in your stomach whenever work crosses your mind.


2. You have panic attacks on the way to work, at work and after work.


3. You have nightmares about your job most nights, and wake up every morning feeling a bit sick and terrified.


4. You become ill a lot.


5. You constantly have a racing heartbeat and butterflies in your stomach.


6. You hide in the toilets at work just to escape the stress for a little while.


7. You become miserable outside of work, because you can’t switch off from your job.


8. You consider pulling a sickie but you can’t because you are too scared/you have too much work to do.


9. You don’t enjoy the last few days of your holiday away from work because you are feeling anxious about going back to work.


10. You have Googled ‘stress at work’ or something similar.


11. You have regular emotional breakdowns at work because you simply can’t cope.


12. You start experiencing health problems as a result of your stress (stomach issues, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, skin problems).


13. You are starting to show signs of depression and you are pretty sure it’s because you hate your job and you feel trapped.


14. You can’t sleep at night and wake up feeling exhausted every day.


15. You begin to rely on that glass of wine each night to calm you down and you drink ridiculous amounts of caffeine to get you through the day.


16. You become withdrawn and don’t have the energy or time to socialise with your colleagues. You skip lunch just so you don’t have to talk to them.


17. You work your ass off and spend way too long in the office, but you can’t leave on time because you’re totally swamped with work.


18. You have developed nervous habits such as pacing the room, shaking your legs, sweating excessively or biting your nails. People can see that you are visibly rattled.


19. You can’t concentrate on your work anymore because you are so stressed and unhappy.


20. You start thinking negative thoughts and begin to feel like you are terrible at your job.


21. You can’t cope with simple tasks anymore such as participating in meetings and presenting to clients.


22. You become moody and short tempered with your colleagues and also loved ones at home.


23. You constantly feel completely overwhelmed and get confused easily.


24. You completely lose interest in doing your job and each day drags so badly you think it’s never going to end.


25. You have tried all sorts of herbal stress remedies such as Rescue Remedy sweets and calming scent sprays (I recommend this Neil’s Yard roller stick).


26. You spend every minute you aren’t working looking for new jobs.


*Image courtesy of Monochromia Photography. I am not a health expert. If you think you are seriously stressed, contact a doctor. This is not an official diagnosis for stress.


  1. Stephy
    November 13, 2017 / 6:25 am

    I am experiencing 20/26 for my current position as a marketing executive. I join for 9 months but couldn’t perform. Management suggest me to switch role as sales coordinator or remain in existing department with basic tasks. More marketing tasks will be given if I perform. I under a senior who is stringent and scold me everyday for months. I am so scared of her. Wanted to stay in marketing department but scared eventually I can’t perform. If change role, i worry how others perceive me. The role however seems suit to my ability. Especially those salespersons. I have no problem getting along with others. But i just feel so sad and useless.

  2. Alan Roberts
    March 1, 2018 / 10:24 am

    And then on top of that getting bitched at by your family if you ever even have the notion to quit. I mean what a lazy worthless person can’t even get up at 345 everyday and run on five hours of sleep for days on end and work a measly little corporate job? Your not sick you drove to the store so you can’t be sick you kids these days are so lazy. I don’t care if you wake up and h heart rate goes from 50 to 200. If you don’t go it even take a week off to find a new job you are worthless and we will be passive aggressive and ask what’s going on and act like the world just ended.

  3. March 30, 2018 / 12:39 am

    6 years and 4 months. Two different manager grabbed me by the throat. Another manager threw a punch at my face that was not caught on camera. She didn’t make contact but I felt the cool breeze from her fist across my face. She came very close. Had a subordinate (yes, I’m a manager) throw punches to the back of my head. Again, no contact. Another manager stalked me in the store threatening to take me to the parking lot. Filed a police report on him. Young lady indirectly sprayed me with cleaner. Man fired for sexual harassment, and another young man touched my boob twice before rebelling against my instructions in an angry way. And he’s a big guy. So many people cold shouldered me, refusing to say a word to me. Not even good morning in return. I can’t tell you what this does to a person when it’s one after the other after the other. I was nicknamed “PepperAnne” and the song was sung at me by a manager (before I was one) to mock me. She would give me random dirty looks. Something others seemed to suffer from as well. People glared at me to tear me down. And then the constant belittling, humiliating me, mobbing me. I’m also overworked and nobody lifts a finger to help without being directed to, which is also very stressful.

    I finally had the first anxiety attack I’ve ever had and thought I was having a heart attack, and ever since then my heart hurts at work the moment conflict comes up. I now think I’m a terrible manager. I had another job offer, put in my two weeks notice and about 3 days before my time was up….I walked out. Some subordinates showing resistance and it just broke.my.heart.

  4. Katieh
    April 4, 2018 / 6:32 pm

    Wow…. I have EVERY ONE OF THESE!! Never in my adult life have I hated working somewhere until now… customer service on the phones is HELL! People on the phone are SO evil to you for NO reason. AND to top it off, I deal with PTSD too! NOT a good combination.

    • Malaya
      August 6, 2018 / 4:33 am

      I have every one of these symptoms as well. I also suffer from PTSD from being a veteran. I actually work from home doing customer service for a large corporation. I am so miserable that I have even thought of hurting myself to get time out of work. I can’t find another job and it’s been scary because no other job in my city pays as much and I have to pay my bills. I do not have family or any support system so it’s all on me to make this work. I struggle with bouts of guilt because I know that there are homeless people in this world who would love my opportunity and it makes me feel bad. Most of the day I am daydreaming and wishing that I was back in Afghanistan because I truly More calm and happy there. This is tormenting me and I hate alcohol but I drink When I work. I’m not lazy or weak, but every other job I applied for either pays too little or will not hire me. Co workers are constantly on stress leave or quitting.

    • Alice
      October 20, 2020 / 2:06 pm

      I completely understand how you feel – I’m on a customer service job too and hating it! The constant stress, on-the-spot problem solving, messy systems, information overload and being an emotional punching bag for people, dealing with co workers and politics and being thrown new information in a haphazard way, having to keep numbers up… it’s all so overwhelming and exhausting. It’s affected my mental health but I don’t have the courage to quit… It’s making me feel miserable :(

    • SC
      December 15, 2020 / 7:05 pm

      Yep me too only 13 years as a tech support advisor.

  5. Ethel
    May 11, 2018 / 2:01 pm

    I have been at my job for 30 years. It’s a non profit and we keep growing and growing. As we grow, I get more and more work and cannot get everything done sometimes. I get phone calls and emails from other sites asking if I did such and such. I already had a mini breakdown 3 years ago and just didn’t go to work for a month. I went to a shrink who said I suffered from anxiety and put me on meds. I was on meds a few months and got off of them and everything got better. Now for the past few months my anxiety is through the roof. I can’t even afford to go the the shrink now because our health insurance changed and the copays for that are very high. I can’t sleep, eat or function. I am 60 years old and not getting any younger. I thought about looking for a new job and missed an interview a few weeks ago because 2 people called out and I had to open the office. I am at my wits end. What should I do?

  6. Drea
    June 22, 2018 / 3:11 pm

    Customer service jobs really can break you down. I work at a very fast paced call center taking back to back calls all day. I’m an introvert, so talking is very draining. This is definitely not the job for me. But what other choice do I have when there are not very many other jobs out there besides customer service. My supervisor is always asking us to work overtime and I can barely make it through the day during my regular work hours. I will be so relieved when I can get my degree and get the heck away from this call center for the sake of my mental and physical health.

  7. Laura Robbs
    August 28, 2018 / 6:37 am

    I have all 26 symptoms. I am seriously struggling physically and mentally. Honestly I’m 53 it’s too much. If someone could please help me.

    • L C D
      November 29, 2020 / 6:29 pm

      I feel for you. I’m 62 but still too early to retire. I won’t have a lot of money when I retire, but I’m planning my escape soon. My job is so stressful and I get treated like crap by everyone, bosses, clients. very hard industry. but reading all these posts actually gives me relief. LAURA ROBBS IT WILL BE OVER ONE DAY! I pray alot. And the Lord comes through! I ask Him to help me deal with difficult bosses and clients and co-workers. I ask HIm to give me patience and love for everyone. I pray for their souls that they would know HIm and spend eternity with Him and myself and that they would repent of their evil deeds like being mean to me! LOL

  8. Alan Walsh
    November 11, 2018 / 6:34 pm

    Great post, I can identify with this. Changed my job and working with people I don’t get on with. Also the job itself sucks, getting aggressive email after email. i have this nervous stomach feeling which gets worse the day before i go to work. Management talked me into going for this role, when I was already happy in my previous position. Will give it two months, if i cannot get a transfer will change jobs. Worried about the long-term health implications.

  9. Anonymous
    March 19, 2019 / 4:26 pm

    I have like 30 of the 26. My life is hell. Not living at all. Working and sleeping, eatimg if I have the stomach for it. What should I do? There is too too much to do with no end. It goes on for months with no respite. Cant even take a vacation right. Should I tell my boss that? I am thinking of quitting every single minute.

  10. May 5, 2019 / 5:59 pm

    Im done with it. I absolutely hate my job and my life right now. I can’t stand my co-worker or the work I do. It’s so unfulfilling. Here I am on a Sunday I can barely enjoy beacuse i have to go into this hell hole tomorrow. wish me luck :(

  11. August 13, 2019 / 2:23 pm

    I am so sorry for all of you. I hope and pray you bet better.

  12. C
    January 19, 2020 / 12:19 am

    I totally resonate with this. I’m in a customer service call center doing support/operations and it’s burning me the f out. Mental health is so pushed. I have no life. I need to find a better fitting job.

  13. Andrew
    May 3, 2020 / 5:36 pm

    While reading these comments is painful, I am so glad to know that I am not alone in feeling as I do about my job. I’m 50 years old. I thought I’d be in the prime of my career by now. Between budget cuts at one former employer and the closure of another, I landed another job with a 90 minute commute each way. Sure, I’m paying my bills, but I’m the oldest one there, the only one with a family, and I feel so lonely and out of the loop. Some say I should be grateful just to have something, others say I should quit. Is there hope for career changes after 50? Where can I learn new skills that are marketable without breaking the bank or taking up all my time? Help!

  14. Andrew
    May 3, 2020 / 5:36 pm

    While reading these comments is painful, I am so glad to know that I am not alone in feeling as I do about my job. I’m 50 years old. I thought I’d be in the prime of my career by now. Between budget cuts at one former employer and the closure of another, I landed another job with a 90 minute commute each way. Sure, I’m paying my bills, but I’m the oldest one there, the only one with a family, and I feel so lonely and out of the loop. Some say I should be grateful just to have something, others say I should quit. Is there hope for career changes after 50? Where can I learn new skills that are marketable without breaking the bank or taking up all my time? Help!

  15. KIM
    January 20, 2021 / 9:35 pm

    Omg, reading all these comments is so heartbreaking and I feel for every single one of you. I am literally at home sick today with an infection, I had a throbbing headache for 2 days and body aching, I was supposed to work yesterday but went straight to the doctor`s office at work. ( I believe I am sick because I am so unhappy and unfulfilled at work ) the doctor recommended staying home for at least 3 days. Just the thought of going back to work Friday, makes me sick to my stomach :( I work at a hotel and have to deal not only with my boss and other managers with their BS every single day, but with rude ass hotel guests as well and their spoiled child like behavior. Every single day I think about quitting. I have only been there for 1 month. At first I was grateful because I got a job in the middle of a pandemic and of course we need to pay bills, right? . But now I just think that is so sad. I feel like a zombie every day. Wake up, about 45 minute commute to work, work for 8 hours, another 45 minutes to get home. 6 days a week, only half an hr. lunch. By the time I get home, I am exhausted both mentally and physically and don`t want to do anything productive. My boyfriend is going though the exact same situation. I am just so frustrated. I am praying that one of these days I get the inspiration to start something that will allow me to make the same amount of money I`m making now at least but doing something meaningful. (which the money is not much by the way. I live in Mexico, so pay is really low) I need to start working on a plan in order to get out of this. I will pray for every single one of you as well. I hope we find a job we truly love or a business idea. There is greatness in all of us and all of us have some type of talent, abilities, We just need to keep digging, help other along the way…..and I think we will figure it out. Good luck to all! I hope we all make it.

  16. Debra
    February 12, 2021 / 10:46 pm

    I understand and relate to many of these feelings. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt like this. I have found out some new things about myself though. I am not a team player, not because I hate team work, but only because I work better by myself. I’d rather work under one boss and not several. That’s a pain. I don’t like pre-planning. I like dealing with the here and now. I don’t like scheduling things down the road because I am a spontaneous person, sometimes last minute, even though that’s not good all the time. I don’t like many projects going on at the same time. I am a methodical person and enjoy a step by step process where I know exactly what I have to do and I can do it. So, I am in the wrong kind of job right now and am trying to find another one. Until that happens, I am miserable and hate it. I dread going to work and it weighs me down. It takes the energy out of me and totally stresses me out. I am 60 years old and definitely don’t need the kind of pressure it puts on me, plus I feel like a failure and often get scolded by a boss that doesn’t like the way I handle my work. Yesterday almost did me in. I have come home in tears before. That’s not life. So I have learned a lot about how I tick in a work place. I need to change soon before I stop ticking.

  17. Josh T.
    February 19, 2021 / 10:16 am

    It’s important to remember there are two realms of thought when dealing with jobs. The implicit, and the explicit. The explicit is the things you see, the cash you get, the benefits, but the implicit, that can be either a cost or a benefit as well, things unseen, fulfillment or stress. Condemnation and abuse or encouragement.

    When I was much younger (27 now), I job hopped a lot. I’ve found gaslighting not to be all that uncommon in many jobs, especially for younger folk, and some companies will try and drive people by means of negative reinforcement. This is usually a tell tale sign of trouble. Find somewhere you can at least some what align with, and grow from that. If you’re going different directions than your employer, your colleagues, and it’s having a large implicit cost which is too heavy a burden, perhaps it’s not the best fit, and perhaps you should source income elsewhere. Jobs don’t pay near as much as they used to, but better is a little with peace and quiet, than much with chaos and insanity. Good luck to all, and God bless.

  18. CAM
    February 27, 2021 / 6:06 am

    I feel so guilty that I don’t like my job. I keep telling myself to be grateful, and I think of all those who don’t have jobs. This is part of the reasons why I feel stuck at this job that I’m at right now.

    I have social anxiety, and finding a job has always been extremely terrifying for me. I took this job because after getting no response from other positions or getting “no”s, this “yes” made me think that this was where I was supposed to be.

    I signed a 2 year “contract”. This is a small company with an extreme heavy workload. If I were to take a day off, we’d be in trouble. I feel trapped. My boss makes us use our personal cell phones for work, and I have clients trying to contact me even when I’m off the clock. I know I can easily ignore it, but it makes me uncomfortable to constantly see their notifications when I’m trying to forget about work during the times I’m not working. It’s hard to disconnect.

    Just typing this is making me cry. I feel bad for not liking my job. I question myself on so many things whether I’m being unreasonable or not.

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