National Stress Awareness Day 2017 is coming, how do you manage your stress?
We are all stressed. According to Virgin’s YouGov’s survey (‘How stressed are UK employees’, 2015), 50% of full-time staff have experienced anxiety or burn-out in their job. Consequently, thinking about the repercussions on the friends and families around these stressed people, the acknowledgement is simple (and scary): 100% of the UK population has experienced a form of intense stress in the past few years.
Stress is good for you. Yes, you read this sentence right: It makes us more alert and help us perform better in some situations. Without stress, we would not move forward, we would go out of our comfort zone and we would not achieve great things.
However, at too high intensity and too regular frequency, stress can have negative consequences on your mind and body, and lead to illness such as anxiety, depression or heart disease.
What is stress? ‘Stress is the feeling of being under abnormal pressure’ (Mental Health Foundation, ‘How to manage and reduce stress’). It can be caused by professional (new project, colleagues, hierarchy…) or personal circumstances (family, friends, illness…). Our brain is so built that if 9 positive things happen in one day, and 1 negative thing, we would focus on the one and only negative thing, sadly.
How do I know that I am stressed? You can identify physical symptoms such as the most common ones: sleeping problems, eating disorders, headache, muscle tensions, fatigue… You can as well experience behavioural and emotional effects, such as irritability, anxiety, losing temper, …
What do I do if I realise that I am too stressed?
Listen to your body: make the connection between how you feel and the pressure you might be facing at the moment. Be aware of physical warnings: it is not normal not to sleep and don’t have appetite.
Look for the ‘why’: try to identify the causes of your physical and emotional state. Is there something going on at work? At home?
Select what you can control versus what you cannot: You cannot control external circumstances, but you are in control of how you react to them. You might not be able to change your boss, but you are most likely able to change how you react to his or her ways.
Review your calendar and tasks: do you have too much on at the moment? Can you put aside some of these things? Say no to some others? And focus and what’s important to you.
Additional tips from the Mind It’s team:
Learn to say No: It can seem difficult at the beginning, but you have ‘nice’ ways of saying no. You might try not to say ‘no’ directly, but ‘how about’. If you know you cannot take on a new project because you are already too busy, why not saying ‘how about asking this or this person? They have proved to be very skilled and efficient on these matters lately.’ Try, and let us know!
Try Meditation: Meditation can help you to refocus, to actually focus back on the positive things happening in your life and stop going around in circles on the negative ones. You can try Headspace, a free mobile application which offers a good selection of meditation sessions – even if it is the first time you meditate!
Focus on your sleep: why not trying out a sleep workshop? One is coming soon to Leeds, on National Stress Awareness Day, as part of Leeds Wellbeing Week. The focus is to help you to ‘put your inner critics to sleep’ to have a better sleep experience daily! (find more information by clicking here)
How can I implement a stress management strategy in my office? As National Stress Awareness Day is coming, it might be time to explore stress management options in your company. We would suggest to
Start with talking! It might sound simple, but can in fact be very powerful. Try to share with your colleagues how you are feeling and start conversations around stress and your strategies to cope with it. Again, focus on what you all can control versus what you cannot.
Try a stress management workshop: in one hour, you would identify your own sources of stress and signs in your mind and body, develop your own strategies as well as the group ones. More information on our website.
Book a wellbeing check with us: Wellbeing Checks enable us to better understand your needs and the challenges you are currently facing, as well as your company to have a better understanding of Wellbeing and how it can be implemented in your workplace. We would then be able to co-design an accurate and impactful Wellbeing Program, keeping our common goal in mind: Making your employees healthier and happier. More information on our website.
Stay calm, and have a positive National Stress Awareness Day!