Currently in the UK 1 in 3 sick notes are issued relating to problems with mental health including stress, and in 2016/17 526,000 workers reported suffering from workplace stress or anxiety. It doesn’t matter if you work in Education, a small advertising company or a huge multinational, everyone gets stressed. As April is Stress Awareness Month, we thought now would be a good time to talk all things stress related!
Looking after yourself and your staff makes sense; morally its imperative for companies to recognise and support staff who may be struggling and financially it makes good business sense. 70 million working days are lost in Britain each year due to poor mental health (this includes stress) costing the economy between £70-100 billion; poor mental health and feeling stressed affects productivity, performance and staff morale.
It is important to recognise that stress is normal; it’s the bodies physical response to help us survive, it helps us to do our best, to react to danger and vitally it won’t kill you! But when you start to feel overwhelmed or that you can’t cope, and stress stops you from doing the things that you would usually enjoy you need to think about getting some help. Whether that is through your GP or the company you work with; when stress goes on for too long it starts to have a detrimental effect on your work, your health and your personal life.
Here are some of top tips to help beat stress.
1. Regular exercise 3 x a week where your heart beats a bit faster and you get hot and sweaty – releases serotonin; your body’s natural anti-depressant.
2. Get a good night’s sleep – denying sleep is used as a form of torture, sleep is so important for general health and combatting stress (see our previous blog ‘Forty Winks’ for our tips to help with sleep).
3. Eat a healthy diet containing all colours of the rainbow – you body works best with the right fuel.
4. Be positive!
That last one can be easier said than done! We all have that negative voice in our heads which ruminates on everything that has happened during the day that you would rather forget; that mistake you made in the presentation, the way you snapped at a colleague, that awkward conversation with your boss who now thinks that you are incompetent! Usually that negative voice is loudest just as you drop off to sleep and research has shown that overnight it will be those negative thoughts that will sit in your brain and be processed whilst you sleep. If everyone could just end each day by thinking about 3 positive things that have happened or 3 things that you are grateful for; the graphs in the presentation looked great, spending time with your child, even if it is only, I managed to get into work today! The brain then processes these positive thoughts, and this can subtlety alter your perception over time, leading to a better night’s sleep, a greater sense of wellbeing and ultimately less stress.
We all need to look after ourselves and then we can look after the people around us!