Today marks Stress Awareness Day, which provides an additional reason to think about our colleagues’ stress levels, wellbeing and mental health while at work.
It can often make a huge difference to share how you are feeling with family, friends and colleagues; you can not only gain advice, but you may find you can offer support to other colleagues.
As the custodian and champion of driving a positive cultural change for mental health at Atalian Servest, Tom Evans, Finance Director, commented on our commitment to creating a culture of openness where people can speak and be heard: “At Atalian Servest, we want to ensure that colleagues have the necessary support to deal with mental health problems without the associated stigma and feel comfortable to discuss what you are feeling with anyone within the business. A workplace can be a stressful place for anybody, so it is important to ensure all colleagues are correctly supported at work, and that they are empowered to support those around them.
We are proud at Atalian Servest to support the leading England and Wales mental health charity Mind as one of our Charities of the Year, as we recognise mental health is one of the UK’s largest health issues.”
While there are many different coping mechanisms for stress, we have shared our top tips to combat workplace stress below.
1. MAKE TIME FOR A BREAK
The average UK lunch break is only 31 minutes.1
Ensure you set aside time each day to take a break from your workstation, even if it is for just a short amount of time. By stepping away from your task you give your brain time to recharge, and it can prevent you from becoming overwhelmed.
2. EAT A HEARTY MEAL
46% of adults reported that they ate too much or ate unhealthily due to stress.2
When you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, cooking or eating can often be the last thing on your mind. However, a nutritious meal can have a restorative effect, giving you the energy needed to get a handle of any issues you are facing. Whether you make use of onsite facilities, visit local restaurants or bring food from home, making time to eat can help stabilise your mood and help you to combat stress.
3. EXERCISE WHEN YOU CAN
On average, only 60% of people meet the recommended physical activity amount. 3
Exercise is known to decrease stress, boost mood and even help combat anxiety. However, with work, family, and other commitments it can be challenging to fit in a long run or gym session. Something as simple as a walk around the block in your break or even round the car park can help clear your mind.
4. TRY MINDFULNESS
60% of people questioned reported meditation helped them significantly.4
Mindfulness is a technique that can help you to become aware of yourself and your surroundings. It is a way to connect with your emotions and senses in the here and now; concentrating on the present. Understanding your emotions and your patterns of thought are the first steps in training your mind to prevent intrusive thoughts from taking over. It can also help you notice the signs of stress or anxiety earlier, allowing you to take steps to help yourself before you may become overwhelmed. The NHS has a number of useful resources on mindfulness, click here to explore them.
5. TAKE CONTROL
Over 1 in 7 people experience mental health problems in the workplace. 5
If you are stressed at work, you often feel out of control and that your workload is insurmountable. The first step to taking control is understanding what you need to do, start by writing a list of everything that needs to be done and then prioritising by order of importance. Many people find the “4Ds” of time management effective, Delegate, Defer, Delete, Do. By organising your workload in this way, the to-do list is broken down into more manageable chunks, and you can start working through those tasks on the “do” list. Taking control can be one of the best ways to handle stress at work. It is easy to let worries pile up and feel like it is impossible to handle, but by taking ownership of your tasks you will start to get a sense of being on top of things again.
6. TALK TO SOMEONE
Just 13% of employees would be comfortable talking about mental health at work. 6
A 2017 poll by the charity Time to Change found workers would rather talk to colleagues about money worries than a mental health problem. Never underestimate the power of talking through your emotions. Whether it is a chat with friends and family, a catch up with a colleague over a cup of tea or talking with your line manager/HR, sometimes knowing you are not alone goes a long way to help lift the stress from your shoulders. They could also be able to help in more practical ways, from helping you to prioritise to offering suggestions of techniques that they have tried and tested.
We all feel stressed at different times in our life, by learning to recognise our triggers and building an arsenal of coping skills, you can make it easier to manage.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope, always seek advice from a medical practitioner. Speak to the experts at https://www.mind.org.uk/