According to the Mental Health Organisation, work-related stress accounts for a staggering 23.9 days of work lost for every person affected.
It makes good business sense, for everyone to know about workplace stress, to enable collegues to spot the signs – and hopefully be able to offer early help before it comes to time off work.
We’ve all heard the alarm bells ring
‘You okay? You seem stressed.’
‘I’m so stressed at the minute.’
‘Can’t talk much today. So bogged down. Eughhh stress’
Everyone experiences a level of stress fairly frequently.
And for that reason it is often overlooked.
Free self-help guide on stress management, that can be used for colleagues
Approximate reading time 5 minutes
Stress is essential for our survival as human beings, and being reactive to the world around us. This can be physical, emotional or environmental – forcing us to react in a state of ‘fight or flight’.
It is when stress is in excessive amounts for a prolonged period of time that this state of ‘fight or flight’ begins to wear us down mentally and physically. Naturally, this affects our everyday routine and performance.
Have your sales at work dropped recently?
When was the last time you saw your friends?
Has your diet changed recently?
So what can we do to help ourselves?
Even if an external source beyond our control is the root of the problem, it doesn’t mean to say that we can’t better the situation.
Identifying the Causes Why are you feeling this way? Ask for help if you have too much workload, or make a plan to address the issue
Lifestyle Review Are you juggling too much? Is there anything that you could temporarily take a break from
Make Healthier Choices Eat and drink moderately. Choose fresh foods that will optimise your energy levels and lift your mood (Water, greens, high protein foods, nuts and fruits). If you smoke, even though you may think it alleviates tension temporarily, consider cutting right down as this actually makes it far worse
Exercise Chase those endorphins! However great and however small, get moving and your mind and body will thank you for it
Be Selfish Make time for you. Take some time away from your normal routine to unwind in a bubble bath, walk, read a book, or even watch a film with a glass of wine. Anything that makes you feel relaxed, assign some time to do this.
Sleep. Overrated as a child, but underrated as an adult! Good quality sleep can often be compromised by modern life – but is essential for resting when you are stressed. Cut down your screen time and caffeine before bed to make sure you’ll be properly refreshed
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But it’s true. Often advice we’ll give to a friend without thought, but struggle to practice. We are all human. It’s okay to not have your life together perfectly all the time (those who seem to often don’t)
Ask for help. Close friends and family will be sure to offer a supportive ear, and it isn’t weak to lean on them if you need to from time to time. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, there is no shame in speaking to your HR department at work for reassurance, or a counsellor.
Every workplace will acknowledge when someone is stressed, and ultimately have systems in place to make this easier for you.
If you find you have tried all of the above, and still feel overwhelmed by stress, it may be that you are in fact dealing with a Mental Health problem. They are extremely common. Do not be afraid to seek professional help if you are struggling to manage on your own.
You might also be interested in learning about our Mental Health First Aid courses.