Today is National Stress Awareness Day. It was put in place by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA), which was established over 30 years ago to raise awareness of stress-related issues, both in the workplace and at home. Its purpose is to combat the stigma which is often associated with personal stress and change attitudes towards the management of stress in the workplace. The theme for this year is 'Workforce Wellness - Your Prime Investment.'
A lot of the things you do at home to reduce stress will also help reduce stress in the workplace. The key is to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Below are some things you can put in place to help reduce stress.
1. Identify the Causes
The first thing to do when you want to deal with stress is to identify what is causing it and how it can be managed. Make a list and narrow it down to the main triggers which cause the stress in your life to occur. Causes of stress in the workplace can include the following:
- Being unhappy in your job
- Having a heavy workload
- Working long hours – This is where flexible working comes to the rescue!
- Working under dangerous conditions
- Having to give speeches in front of colleagues
Causes of stress at home can include the following:
- The death of a loved one
- Loss of a job
- Financial issues
- Moving to a new home
- Chronic illness or injury
- Emotional problems
Once you recognise the main triggers of your stress, you can start identifying how you can make the situation better. Even something as simple as taking up yoga or meditation can make a huge difference to your mind-set. Remember that sometimes the stress can come from the inside. We can stress ourselves out by overthinking/worrying about things.
2. Be Flexible
Flexible working is one of the most useful tools in helping workers achieve a healthy work-life balance. It can allow employees the ability to adapt their ways of working to best suit their needs, while still being fully committed to their careers. Mercer carried out a survey on over 1,500 employees across UK and Ireland, which showed that 52% of workers are very concerned about maintaining a healthy lifestyle while holding down a job. Flexible working arrangements can help reduce stress as employees working flexibly are more satisfied with their job and lives, and they experience better work-life balance.
3. Get Active
Regular exercise can be a powerful stress reliever. It is recommended to do at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
- Join a gym, take up yoga, play a sport.
- Check if your company offers a gym membership discount.
- Get out of the office during your break, even a small walk can make a huge difference.
- Use flexible working to get a work out/stroll in before, during or after work.
4. Eat Well
Food choices can have a huge impact on how you feel during the day. Eating small, frequent and healthy meals can help your body maintain an even level of blood sugar, keeping your energy and focus up, and avoiding mood swings. Low blood sugar, on the other hand, can make you feel anxious and irritable, while eating too much can make you lethargic.
- Bring your own lunch and snacks to work. This will eliminate the temptation to buy sugary and fast foods.
- Try and prepare lunches/dinners in advance and freeze them so it saves time and eliminates doing it after a long day at work.
- Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol and trans fats.
- Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids to give your mood a boost. The best sources are fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines), flaxseed and walnuts.
Try and take some time out every day to relax and do things you enjoy. Even if it is only 20 minutes, it will make a huge difference. Some examples are below:
- Go for a walk or jog on your break or after work
- Listen to music
- Read a book
- Watch your favourite TV show
- Meet a friend to catch up
6. Contact Softworks
Not only can we benefit your company but we can benefit your employees too. Take Flexible Working, it can lead to a healthy work-life balance along with improved job satisfaction, increased energy, better staff morale and reduced levels of stress. Having the right work-life balance is increasingly important with more and more people finding that their working day is getting longer as businesses struggle to keep up with the demand for 24 hour services.
The best way to celebrate Stress Awareness Day is to take the opportunity to remove the stress from your life for the day. Take the time to examine your life and find out where all the stressors lie, and start looking into taking steps to remove them or find ways to at least minimise them. Starting to reduce the stress in your life is the hardest part but once you’ve identified the triggers, you’re half way there. Often, the best way to cope with stress is to find a way to change the circumstances that are causing it.