Top 10 Stress Busters
Stress can place immense demands on employees’ physical and mental health and affect their behaviour, performance and relationships with colleagues. It’s a major cause of long-term absence from work, and knowing how to manage the factors that can cause work-related stress is key to managing people effectively.
There are many factors at work that can indicate a potential problem. For an individual in the workplace, there may be changes; these changes can be physical, emotional, behavioural, or a combination of all three. Of course, we all experience ‘bad days’, so we are really talking about situations where people display these negative changes for a period of time (e.g. 5 days in a row).
What can you do to support your people?
• Talk about stress and its effects – let’s work together to reduce the stigma that is associated with stress by talking about the topic openly and freely with colleagues.
• Share your coping mechanisms – if something has worked for you why not share it. It might benefit someone you care about and in the meantime, it might help you take your focus off your own challenges.
• Be nice to those who are stressed and anxious – we are all undoubtedly going to experience stress and anxiety in our lifetime so treat others going through it with compassion and empathy.
• Look after yourself – we all need to think more about self–care. Take time out of your day to relax or do something that you enjoy. Don’t forget to exercise and eat well, even when you feel too stressed.
The most crucial thing you can do when you are stressed or anxious is to make sure you are continuing to look after yourself. Make time to relax when you need to and learn to say no to requests that are too much for you.
Looking at an organisation as a whole, there are signs that the workforce is stressed. This can manifest itself as:
• High staff turnover
• Increased absenteeism and sickness levels
• Long-hours work culture
• Employees not taking their full holiday entitlement
• Low productivity and efficiency
Employers should conduct stress risk assessments and manage workplace activities to reduce the likelihood of stress developing.
So how can we try and combat stress?
Exercise won’t make it magically disappear, but it will help reduce some of the emotional intensity you’re feeling by clearing your thoughts and allowing you to deal with things more calmly.
Remember there is always a solution to any problem! The feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress, but if you take control of the problem you empower yourself and enable you to find a solution that satisfies you and not someone else.
Connect with people
Your support network of colleagues, friends, and family can help ease work troubles and assist you in seeing things from another perspective. The activities we do with our friend groups help us relax and destress.
Some quality me-time
Work-life balance is something we all struggle with especially as in the UK we work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we don’t get enough time to spend doing things we really enjoy. Setting aside a couple of nights a week for socialising, relaxation or exercise for some quality ‘me time’ away from work will help you stop being so tempted to work overtime.
Setting yourself goals and challenges both at work or at home will help you build up your confidence and in turn, helps you deal with stress. By continuing to learn and to challenge yourself mentally you become more emotionally resilient.
Avoid healthy habits
At times we see alcohol, smoking or caffeine as a way of coping with stress, but this is a way of avoiding the problems we need to face. In the long term these things won’t help solve problems, they will just create new ones.
Help other people
Helping people that are sometimes in situations worse than yours can help put things into perspective. You could look at volunteer work or if you don’t have the spare time doing someone a favour or going on a coffee run for colleagues will make you feel good.
Work smarter, not harder
Know how to prioritise work by concentrating on the tasks that will make a big difference and leaving the least important tasks to the end. Your inbox and workload will always be busy, it’s all about how you handle your task list and not punish yourself if you don’t have your list completed by the end of the day.
Try to be positive
Always look for the positives in life and what you are grateful for. Try writing down 3 things that were good that day or what you were grateful for at the end of every day.