Stress Busting ideas on National Stress Awareness Day

It’s important that all of us are able recognise causes of stress and address them. Some causes are deep routed requiring long term strategies to resolve them and others may be addressed and reduced more easily.

“In life, there’s always a solution to a problem,” says Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster. He says the keys to good stress management are building emotional strength, being in control of your situation, having a good social network, and adopting a positive outlook. 

That’s good advice but some of it will take time to implement, so what about quick, small fixes for those times when we can feel stress and anxiety levels rising? There are things we can all do in the workplace to address symptoms and route causes.

These include:

  • Taking 5 minutes out, get a drink and enjoy a change of scene.
  • Going for a walk to get some fresh air or exercise when you can.
  • Where possible, take control of the situation. Accept the things you can’t control and take charge of the things you can. This in itself will feel empowering and liberating.
  • Talk to your manager to see if they can help you. If they are part of the problem then go to HR or another trusted manager or colleague.
  • Work smarter- leave the least important jobs until last and put time aside to do things for yourself that you enjoy.
  • Avoid bad habits- late nights, caffeine, smoking and drinking only mask issues and won’t help you get to the route cause of your stress.
  • Always think of the positives. If they don’t come to hand, take a few moments to write down 3 positive things that happened to you today or 3 things that you are grateful for in life. They will be there and doing this creates some perspective during difficult moments.

Managers and employers should also be trained in recognising the signs of stress. Some of these are overt and obvious whilst others may be more subtle and compounded over time.

There are some simple considerations that employers and managers can implement, without it having to cost the earth in money or time:

  • Provide a ‘Managing Stress Policy’ so employees can always access top tips and best practices.
  • Run training workshops on time management and managing workload to support employees in their daily roles.
  • Have a breakout area for people to take 5 minutes away from their work stations to breathe and de-stress.
  • Consider providing an Employee Assistance Programme which is available to employees and their families.
  • Encourage a culture of respect, a good work/life balance and good communication to protect employees psychological wellbeing. This takes time but everyone will reap the rewards!

For more details on how good practices can assist employees and managers recognise and address the signs of stress, please drop us a line at: info@candidhr.co.uk