A while a go, I captured from a report that 73% of British workers took time out of work because of stress in the work place... and 19% quit on the spot!
Does this surprise you?
From lack of support and excessive workload to poor company culture and incompetent colleagues 😬. Between you and me, this is just a small sample of what can cause stress at work. There are so many more factors, that I don't have the space on the page to list.
This month, I explore how work related stress impacts you and, most importantly, how we can all implement remedies to alleviate the excessive pressures when they become too much.
What does it mean?
So we are all on the page, I found a definition that we can refer back to:
HSE's formal definition of work related stress is: "The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work."
And what's the impact?
💡Although stress is more of a state than an illness. It is worth noting that if stress becomes too excessive and prolonged - mental and physical illness may develop. Work related stress is also known t
o be linked with high levels of sickness absence, staff turnover and other business-impacting-issues such as mistakes and errors.
Work related stress occurs because a person is unable to cope with the demands being placed on them.
Stress can hit anyone at any level of any business.
Pressures at work compared to stress caused because of work, have clear differences:
⚡Pressure can be positive, motivating factor in someone's career, and is often essential. Whereas, Stress occurs when this pressure becomes excessive. (Loop back to definition).
Stress affects people in different ways. What one person finds stressful can be pressure to another. How they approach the stressful situation will depend on:
Background and culture
Skills and experience
Mental and physical health
And even, ethnicity, gender, age or disability
It isn't a one size fits all.
So how do you manage it?
Just like how people are affected by stress, the ways of managing it can be different for each individual. That's right, there's no cookie cutter approach.
Here are 2 sections for you to explore.
➡Talk to your manager, colleagues or HR. There is no shame in saying that the current pressures that are on you are causes you to feel stressed. It is always best to take some examples with you that include situation when you have felt stressed. Also, another top tip - document your current work load to show your manager. This gives you something to refer back to.
By talking, you are highlighting the problem. You never know, you might be able to recruit a junior to support you.
➡Get a priority list together. Have you ever used a Kanban board? This is the best tool to use as it is a great way to visually see what you need to do and what you have achieved. (also GREAT for reporting).
You can use Trello which is a free, or Microsoft Planner.
➡Be part of a culture change. Do you have an idea to help improve team performance? Or, maybe you want to introduce a wellbeing Wednesdays?
If you are feeling it, I guarantee you are not the only one. Pitch the concepts to appropriate teams and make a difference for you and your colleagues.
➡Pause. STOP. Put down your work phone. Log out of your computer. And be present with your family, friends, dog and/or yourself. Why not embark on a meditation journey - A great place to start is with Balance. The app is currently offering the the first year for free.
I understand that meditation isn't for everyone - a great alternative is mindful movements (focusing on what you are doing) e.g. when walking, focus on the steps. How do your feet feel? What do you see? Hear?
➡Get outside: Whether rain or shine. Get your trainers on and walk around the block. Getting fresh air in your lungs and moving your body will increase the happy hormones, clear your mind and will enable to pause (see above).
➡Take a breathe. Have you ever tried 7 11 breathing? Breathe in for a count of 7. Then breathe out for a count of 11. Continue in this way for 5-10 minutes or longer if you have time. This breathing exercise is known to be the technique that can help you to reduce stress in the moment. If you practice it regularly, you may also find that it helps you feel calmer generally. The more you practice, the more effective this technique becomes.
➡Ask for help. Stress can sometimes morph into something unexcepted. Contact your GP who will be able to give you information about local services, including third party support. You can also self-refer by getting in touch with Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT). And,
if you are struggling here 3 links which could help support you on your Mental Health Journey.
NHS recommended support lines