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Here are 8 of the top problems that can affect Service Members’ performance in the workplace after a deployment:
- Difficulty sleeping and waking up. Loss of sleep can severely affect job performance. People who aren’t well rested tend to have lower productivity, worse concentration, and more stress at work.
- Anger/Short Fuse. Blowing up at supervisors or coworkers can lead to disciplinary action and, in the civilian sector, may result in dismissal. Becoming physically aggressive in the workplace may lead not only to job dismissal, but legal actions, and problems getting hired at other jobs. Also, angry outbursts may cause some to feel less confident about their ability to perform their duties, and may result in a loss of self-respect.
- Memory and Concentration Problems. Forgetting to complete tasks or assignments can lead to low work performance and negative job evaluations. Concentration is essential in getting work done and, depending on the job type, maintaining safety standards.
- Low Self-Esteem. When people feel bad about themselves, or have low mood or depression, they tend to work slower, have trouble concentrating, and do less well at most tasks. With these kinds of struggles, there may be the temptation to get involved in activities that could lead to counseling statements or other charges. In the civilian sector, being dismissed is a possibility, depending on the level of work problems. Individuals who are struggling may want to quit before giving themselves and the job enough time to find solutions.
- Physical Tension or Being on “High Alert” Many worksites are busy places with many people coming, going, and moving around. Service Members who find that they are uneasy in crowds or that they are constantly scanning their environments for signs of danger, may find that simply being at their workplace can be exhausting and stressful. Being constantly on high alert may also result in being easily startled—the sounds of a busy workplace may trigger reactions like “hitting the dirt” that can cause embarrassment and distress.
- Problems with Other People Authority: No supervisor or commanding officer is perfect. But having a bad attitude with superiors can make the workplace feel stressful.
- Isolation: The tendency to isolate can lead to a lack of workplace support. When support is lacking, workplace stress becomes more difficult to cope with.
- Trust: Every worker has to rely on a coworker at some time or other. Problems with trust will make accomplishing tasks through teamwork more difficult.
- Perfectionism. There may be the tendency to react to on-the-job situations as if they are “life or death” matters. In reality, acting and feeling as if there is serious danger or a serious threat can create enormous stress. Also, paying attention to tiny details can be a very desirable characteristic for certain types of jobs, but it can have very real disadvantages. For instance, heightened attention to details, the kind of “on alert” behavior typical of deployments, means back home that work performance may be slowed down.
- Problems with drugs and alcohol. Using drugs and/or alcohol off the job site can affect sleep hygiene, and day-to-day concentration and interactions with coworkers. Using substances to deal with mood problems can actually backfire and result in more mood swings and angry outbursts. Using drugs and/or alcohol during work may affect problem-solving abilities during the work day, and may impair concentra-tion, mood functioning, and relating with coworkers. Drug and/or alcohol use may lead to impulsiveness, safety risks, and disciplinary action if the use is discovered.
Much like a vehicle, the body is vulnerable to problems when it is not “maintained” properly. This can be a problem for following a deployment because you may be used to a higher level of physical activity. A body that is unbalanced or not maintained properly is vulnerable to negative emotions and relationship problems. And physical health problems can worsen anger, concentration, sleep, and relationship problems and affect job performance.
Please take a look at these tips for taking care of both mind and body
- See a doctor when necessary.
- Take medications as prescribed.
- Don’t let physical illnesses or injuries go untreated.
- Don’t overeat or under-eat; instead, eat regularly through out the day.
- Stay away from unhealthy foods (high fat, high sugar).
- Don’t use non-prescribed drugs.
- Don’t drink alcohol to excess.
- Get enough sleep at night.
- Stick to a sleep routine (at night only is best).
- Exercise daily.
- Take timeout to relax or do enjoyable activities.
Even though some of these suggestions may seem obvious, it’s important to be aware that not following up on basic physical needs can lead to physical health problems. When Service Members return from deployment this can be especially true.
Remember: a body that is unbalanced or not maintained properly is not only vulnerable to physical problems but negative emotions and relationship problems as well. If you take care of your body you are better equipped to remain physically and emotionally healthy.
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