Category: Mental Health, Wellbeing, Employee Wellbeing, stress at workplace, stress awareness month
Stress Awareness Month takes place every April and with 74% of adults in the UK feeling stressed at some point over the last 12 months*, it’s just as important now as it was in 1992 when it first launched.
Dan Holden, senior internal comms officer and feel good champion shares his experiences and some tips to help you.
‘Prior to joining Which? I experienced a new work environment where the change in pace and workload hit me hard. Dealing with competing demands and working out of hours saw my stress levels increase. Before long, I couldn’t switch off. I wasn't eating well, only catching a couple of hours of sleep a night and being physically ill. Even though I didn't want to be, I was signed off work and all the worry was removed in that very moment. I decided to leave and have since become a Mental Health First Aider to support others.'
‘So why am I sharing my story today? Even though we all experience stress, recognising when it’s getting too much or having techniques that you can use have been a help for me.’
Here’s some of Dan’s suggestions for dealing with stress:
Talk out loud
‘It’s important to try to not let things bottle up inside, but I appreciate it’s easier said than done. Most times, I’ve found that after I’ve spoken out loud with someone about everything I was trying to juggle a) it feels much better having vented everything and b) they help to put everything into perspective and inform what I should focus on first.'
'It can be harder working remotely to speak with colleagues and friends, but setting some regular time aside to talk can help. I’m more than happy to listen to anyone so feel free to drop me a note anytime or any of the feel good champions.'
Step away and take a deep breath
‘When you feel yourself worrying and stressing, physically step away from your computer, turn around and take a deep breath. It might sound simple but taking a few moments to focus on your breath, slows down your heart rate and can help you refocus. I attend the Fresh Air Fridays, breathing space sessions on Facebook that are free for anyone to join each weekday. Having that time in the middle of the day to pause and slow yourself down I find makes a big difference.'
Complete something different
‘I often find that when things at work are getting on top of me that feeling of stress then carries into my personal life as let’s be honest, it can be hard to switch off from work. A helpful tip that I came across was to complete a task at home, whether it’s putting the washing away or reading a chapter of a book. That sense of achievement will help boost your mental wellbeing as you’ll feel better about being able to tick something off the to-do list. I find it gives me a few moments to put things into perspective and helps reduce my stress levels.'
Set yourself boundaries
‘There are only so many hours in the day and no one, I mean no one expects you to work 24/7. Understanding your personal and professional boundaries will give you the chance to plan out your priorities, like a set of guidelines. On a Wednesday I make sure I finish on time and spend the evening away from my phone and iPad, a bit of a digital detox, which I’ve found a big help for my wellbeing.'
Finally, give yourself a pat on the back
‘Well done for pausing and taking the time to read this. It means you’ve already taken a step forward in either seeking support or finding some practical techniques that work for you. There is no right or wrong in this. Try different methods, see what works for you and adapt them.'