We’ve all said it, and we’ve all heard it, but being ‘stressed’ has become such commonplace in our everyday lives that it has sadly become the ‘norm’. Many of us accept it as part of our daily lives, and it’s certainly a huge component of our working day. From small children to senior citizens, we all seem to be so overwhelmed with the lives we’ve created that finding some peace and calmness is a real challenge.
The problems arising from so much ’stress’ are varied and numerous. From physical to mental symptoms, stress behaves as a stone dropped into a pond: ripples reach out further and further to those surrounding the source, touching everything in its wake and passing the stress on again and again.
What’s happening to us: We are struggling under so much pressure, but what can we do about it?
The International Stress Management Association, (ISMA) is a professional body for workplace and personal stress management, wellbeing and performance.
‘Our aim is to keep stress, mental health and wellbeing high on the national agenda’, says Carole Spiers, ISMA UK Chair
ISMA is determined that no-one should suffer in silence and that there is help for anyone and everyone that needs it. So, where to begin?
Knowing the root cause of your stress may not be easy to identify, yet for others, it may be simple. For example, some obvious reasons for your stress may be:
- Moving home
- Money Worries
- Bad Boss
- Unruly Children
More subtle causes of your stress may be:
- Lack of time
- Taking on too much
- Inability to accept things as they are
- Lack of sleep
- Unhealthy lifestyle
- Lack of rest and relaxation
Understanding the underlying problem is your first step to making a change in your stressful life. The next step is recognising the signs:
- Insomnia or broken sleep
- Upset stomach
- Inability to switch off
- Weight Gain/Loss
- Recurring illness such as a cold or cough due to a low immune system
Often ignored, many of these stress signals are accepted as part of our everyday life. However, organisations like ISMA and Mind (https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/stress/#.XcFiNjP7RPY) are helping us to understand that these symptoms should not be typical, everyday occurrences. Regularly experiencing these symptoms is not only harmful to our bodies but extremely harmful to our minds and our mental health.
Long Term Effects of Stress
Gone undetected or untreated the long-term effects of stress can be severe and lead to ongoing mental health problems which are more challenging to reverse. The importance of dealing with your stress as and when it occurs is critical in your long-term health and wellbeing.
There are many resources available to us today: in person, online, at the doctors and through the workplace. Many employers, institutions and organisations have a much better awareness and understanding our individual mental health needs.
There is still stigma but not nearly enough to prevent us from seeking help and advice on how to help ourselves and others.
Seeking Help with Stress
Today there is a wide range of resources and solutions to help you manage your stress levels before they become too overwhelming.
From mindfulness and meditation to boxing and running each has its own merits in helping you to release the negative energy stored in your body and clear your mind. The answer does not always need to be medication, especially if you can learn to manage your stress levels effectively and prevent them from taking over.
Everyone can create their own
depending on their preferences and needs.
Where to Begin:
- Create space and time in your day just for you. If you can’t find the time, this is a clear signal you need to make time.
- Talking to a trusted friend about what’s making you anxious, upset or overwhelmed.
- Do some physical exercise: you’ll start to release endorphins which help you to feel better and burn some of that excess energy.
- Create a shortlist (1-3 items) of small manageable tasks. If you can achieve even a shortlist, you will start to feel more in control.
- Eat well: nourishing your body, as well as your mind, can have a considerable impact.
- Learn to say no. Even once a day to begin with. You will learn to do more of what you want and less of what you don’t want.
- Stop: merely stopping what you’re doing and just being in the moment can turn your day around.
We are human beings, not robots.
We need time to recharge, rest our minds and replenish our bodies with good energy, fuel and sleep.
Some great resources to help you get well, stay well and develop healthy levels of stress are available online. You can also talk to your employer about creating stress-free spaces and in the workplace and understand what is in place to help all employees reduce their stress levels and manage their workload.
If you’d like to learn how to help your people manage their stress at work, you can contact us directly by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01954 267640
For more information about Stress at Work, read our next article.