Managing Microstress Can Boost Your Mental Health In The Modern Workplace

By Kirstie McDermott

Australian workers are stressed, and that’s official. A 2022 workplace report from global analytics and advice firm Gallup found that 48% of Australians reported high levels of stress at work.

This makes them the second most stressed-out workers in the world, alongside New Zealand. And when it comes to the most stressful occupations, sales support workers are right out there in front with 48.3% reporting high stress levels.

For beauty professionals manning busy counters, working in luxury retail or otherwise interacting with the public, this may feel familiar. Globally, sales support workers are suffering too: in August 2021, 721,000 US retail workers handed in their notice, representing the highest number of resignations in the American retail trade sector in over 20 years.

Long term stress leads to a range of problems which can include the mental and physical. Muscle tension and pain, heart disease and heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke as well as sleep issues and weight gain are just some symptoms people experience.

In a workplace context, Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trends Index found that 62% of Australian employees were experiencing burnout, compared with a global average of 48%. This was even higher for Aussie managers, 66% of whom reported being burnt out, as opposed to 53% globally.

Most workers, regardless of their sector, know a bit about stress, and particularly what can cause it. From working extra long hours to a heavy workload, unreasonable expectations (or unreasonable people) and job insecurity, the root cases can be plentiful.


But what many people, including those working in the beauty industry, tend to dismiss is the insidious issue of microstresses.

Because they are not those “big trigger” stressors, they tend to fly under the radar. Over time they add up to a significant toll taken on your mental and physical health.

Frequent, irritating interruptions throughout the working day is one microstress many of us suffer from. Minor conflicts or disagreements with colleagues or superiors, which can subconsciously play on your mind even after they are resolved, is another.

Continuous exposure to noise, cold, or lights that glare can also be triggering, and so can other people.

If you’re working within someone who is wound tightly, it’s very likely that this will rub off onto you. Researchers at University College London used fMRI to measure the neural responses of participants, both when they experienced pain, and when their loved one did too. The study discovered that when people around us are stressed or unhappy, we feel it, too.

Whether you are experiencing stress levels that are major or micro, everyone deserves to be in an environment that is not making them feel anxious and unwell. If you’re in the market for a new job where the day-to-day will feel calmer, then the Professional Beauty Job Board should be your first stop.

Full of opportunities across the sector, from salon-based roles to retail opportunities with global brands, discover three opportunities below.

Assistant Manager – QVB, The Body Shop International Limited, Sydney

The Assistant Manager – QVB will be an inspirational leader and activist, with enthusiasm for the Body Shop brand. You will partner with the shop manager to drive the store and your team to deliver retail excellence, strong sales results, and an engaging customer experience. You’ll need experience in a customer-facing role, as well as people leadership and team development, plus an ability to meet sales and performance targets with outstanding planning and organizing skills. You should be experienced using data (KPIs) to make sound business decisions and be comfortable with Microsoft Office Suite. Get more info here.

MAC – Retail Artist – David Jones Highpoint – PPT, The Estée Lauder Companies, Melbourne

Estée Lauder Companies is seeking a part time Retail Artist for MAC. As a highly skilled retail artist you will combine your creative and technical expertise and passion for people to provide a welcoming, inspirational and personalized in-store experience which educates and delights customers. You must be able to work retail hours including days, nights, weekends and special events in a fast-paced work environment, and while certification in make-up artistry and/or previous retail make-up experience is desirable, applicants with amateur level experience are also welcomed. Apply now.

Merchandise Planner – Beauty, Myer, Docklands

As the Merchandise Planner – Beauty, you will play a pivotal role in developing and delivering a compelling and profitable customer offer, and will analyse business trends and performance to optimise inventory and sales profit outcomes. A hybrid working model, partly working remotely as well as in the support office is on offer as well as an opportunity to work with a wide range of beauty brands and suppliers. You should have strong experience in planning roles or a retail equivalent, preferably with management experience, as well as a Bachelor’s degree/diploma in one of the following fields: fashion merchandise management, commerce, marketing, retail management, business management, economics or commerce. See all the requirements.

Explore The Professional Beauty Job Board to find your next role.

This article was produced in partnership with Jobbio.

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