By shoby1128, Apr 17 2018 05:41AM
Stress has featured prominently in the news of late, but it isn’t a new problem. The burden of stress is part and parcel of all work and helps to keep us motivated, but a disproportionate amount of stress or work-related pressure can lead to stress which ultimately undermines efficiency, and can make people ill.
The need to tackle stress is well documented in legal aspects of the law. Under the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers are obliged to undertake a risk assessment for health hazards at work – including stress – and to take action to curb that possibility. It is also important to remember that people don't need to cope with work-related stress alone. Here are a few of our tips that we'd recommend:
Don't ignore the symptoms
First and foremost, don't ignore the symptoms. If you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed by a situation or burnt out, talk it through with someone you can trust – this may be your line manager, HR or just a co-worker. It is also important to analyse what may be the cause of the stress. Whilst there aren't always simple fixes for being extremely busy or under pressure, it is important to remember your employer has a duty of care to you and there may be changes or adjustments you can make to enhance the situation.
Communication is central, so the most important thing you must do is accept you are suffering from work-related stress and make sure management are aware. Sometimes management may invariably miss the signs, and won't be able to help you unless you confide in them on the situation. There is no shame or embarrassment to ask for help. Set realistic time constraints, and it is always worth reviewing if there is anything outstanding to see whether these can be extended. Don't get overwhelmed or daunted by situations and remember to keep everything in perspective.
Prioritise and plan ahead
Not being in control can cause stress in itself. Wherever possible create a simple word document, or keep a handwritten list of "things to do" along with any notes relating to completion dates. You can add and amend notes as you go along. It is also advisable to introduce a separate list for any meetings scheduled/phone calls. You can monitor this list at a set time which will help keep you focused. It may be worth noting if anyone else is involved in a particular project, you can perhaps schedule regular email updates with members of the team to provide updates wherever necessary, and make them aware in case of any unexpected setbacks.
One thing at a time
Regardless of whether it is at work, college or in your personal life remember one thing at a time. You are likely to feel improved and less stressed if you just do one task at a time. This will make it easier for the individual to focus and to do a job to a superior quality.
Ask instead of guessing
Reading a colleague's mind or second guessing a situation is never ideal. Misinterpretation is never ideal so it is paramount you opt to communicate instead. It will result in significantly less clashes, adversity and waste less of your and other people’s time.
Set clear realistic goals for your day
It goes without saying but this is extremely significant. It is important for individuals to have a good balance between rest and work. It is important to have that time where you switch off, even if it is only to sit and watch your favourite soap or to have a bath. If you work excessive hours, or your personal circumstances in life have become increasingly traumatic then your body will need more cortisol-hormone. The hormone aids concentration and keeps on going in testing situations. If stress becomes deep rooted, it can result in you being tired all day and feeling wide awake when you’re trying to sleep. This materialises because your body produces cortisol at the wrong time of the day. By doing things that you love, your body generates endorphins which in turn reduce pain. When you're very happy, your body produces the happiness hormone 'oxytocin'. That is the best antidote against stress and depression.
Take a break
We all need to take a break sometimes. Some like to switch off by relaxing in their home surroundings with family and friends, some like to go on holiday and some opt to go for a country walk. It's important to remember that everyone is different, but from time to time we all need to take a step back to preserve our sanity. Taking frequent short breaks is important to reinvigorate your brain and give you time to recuperate. It's also important not to feel guilty. If you choose to take a break, you're not shirking accountability to your daily commitments.
If you opt for a holiday or a short break, they invariably provide "space and a switch-off time" for the individual from the rigours and pressures of daily life. It goes without saying but the majority of us feel less stressed when we're not in a stressful setting. Relaxation is a tremendous way for an individual to take a step back from life's stresses and unwind. It helps them to relieve any tension they may be feeling and keep anxiety under control.
Get a good night's sleep
I know it goes without saying but a good night's sleep is crucial and is the most important thing to your health. A distinct lack and loss of sleep impacts the body's organ system. If an individual doesn’t get sufficient sleep, it can impact their memory and general disappointments can seem heightened. Individuals may also be irritable and snappy and you may want to eat starchy, fatty, or sugary foods.
How can The Health Alliance help?
Support can come in many forms, however, if the pressure and stress is ongoing The Health Alliance can help. As Occupational Health specialists we can arrange health and well-being assessments for a workforce. Specific measures can be taken to help relieve and manage stress symptoms which can involve access to mindfulness techniques and health practitioners. We can also work with the management team and equip them with the knowledge of how to spot the signs of stress. This can help minimise reoccurrences in the future and encourage a healthy workforce.
Contact us today on 07970 949346 or 07920 094663 to discuss further.