In The Netherlands today is the start of the Week of Work Stress. It is the second time that such a week is organized. The Week of Work Stress is held to help address the topic. Because there is still a lot of shame among people who fall out, initiator and Social Affairs Minister Lodewijk Asscher knows. Do you feel emotionally drained by your job? Or are you already tired when getting up? Then read on and learn how you can best raise the topic at work.

Asscher has been worried about the increasing stress in the Netherlands for quite some time now. And for good reason. Stress in the workplace is the country’s number 1 occupational disease. Each year more than a million people are at risk of burn-out and other work-related mental illnesses. One in seven workers even has been struggling with serious stress complaints, the Dutch central statistics office CBS and research institute TNO report. Irritability, poor sleep and tension headaches, for example. Especially young people aged from 25 to 35 years are at increased risk of becoming overstrained.


There are many circumstances that can lead to stress. For example:

Stress, werk, work

There are many circumstances that can lead to stress.

  • Little autonomy at work . Employees who manage their work schedule themselves, experience less pressure.
  • Too high job demands. Nearly four in ten workers are complaining about this.
  • Concerns about changing conditions in the labor market, such as the increase of flexible labor and flexible contracts.
Other causes of stress are:
  • Overload or rather underload of body and mind
  • Bullying

From work stress to job satisfaction

One way to deal with stress is to ensure that you get enjoyment while you work. You can do that by bringing your tasks in line with your energy givers (or strength creators), your higher purpose and your personal values. If you do what gives you energy, you will oftentimes do a mountain of work, without even noticing it. While if you perform tasks that cost you energy, you will sparsely make any progress, and be very tired and frustrated.

Whether you do things that give you energy or not, not only impacts your job satisfaction level, but also your productivity. Severely. Something that undoubtedly has your manager’s interest. Did you know that if you focus on your areas for improvement (something most people do not like) your performance will decrease by an average of 27 percent? While you will get about 36 percent better results when you focus on your strengths?

When you focus on your weaknesses, your performance will decline by 27%.
When you focus on your strengths, your performance will improve by 36%.

Bron: Corporate Leadership Council

The right challenge

To keep your stress under control, it is also important that you are sufficiently challenged. Not too much, but certainly not too little either. In his TED Talk the American/Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains how this works .

Get sufficient rest

While Flow moments are very important, adequate rest is at least as crucial. In our post about mindfulness you can read more about this.

Kudos also help

In our article on the power of compliments read how kudos also help to get into Flow. Both receiving, as giving them. Do not forget to give yourself a pat on the back on a regular basis as well. Because being empathic and kind to yourself, giving yourself recognition for your efforts, your accomplishments and what you have learned, is also a way to get into Flow, and away from stress.

And now in practice

Do you experience stress and will you soon have a one-on-one conversation or a year-end interview with your supervisor? Try to address the above-mentioned issues. The way you can best do that, is one that is not offensive, nor defensive, but connective, and thus the most promising. During our Co-creative Communication workshops we help you to master this way of communicating.

A few tips in advance:

  • Talk about yourself in the first person . Say ‘I’ and ‘me’ in stead of ‘you’, ‘one’ or ‘people’ when you mean yourself.
  • Identify what you are perceiving and what is going on inside you. Without pointing the finger at the other person.