Stress is no good for anyone

    Stress is no good for anyone

    Pressure can sometimes bring the best out of people. Some of us like to work to deadlines with that little rush of adrenalin when a job gets done; we like to push ourselves and achieve good things, and pressure can often keep us focused.

    But when the pressure turns to stress, then we’re in a counter-productive phase and one which can cause problems in our home and work life. And we don’t really need to add work pressure to the other worries that can affect our day to day life. The most frequent causes of stress in the UK in 2021 were financial problems and lack of sleep, and the two often go hand in hand.

    Having responsibilities that you find overwhelming, or feeling out of control in a situation are causes of stress, whether they are family demands or work issues. And times of uncertainty and big changes often increase the stress levels in individuals and society as a whole. 2020 and 2021 were times of real uncertainty as the COVID pandemic swept across the world and dramatically changed the way we lived and worked. For those with school age children, particularly those in an exam year, were faced with the multiple challenges of home schooling, often working from home and a loss of freedom in everyday life.

    And the return to work has caused other stress worries for many, after more than a year of working in isolation and without regular social contact. The increased isolation and loneliness caused by the spread of the virus led to severe cases of stress and an increase in reports of depression. And the return to work gives rise to greater anxiety as people have become less used to working in face to face meetings or in large groups or classes.

    April was stress awareness month, but this is an issue we must keep our eyes on throughout the year and be aware of the signs of increased stress in colleagues. And our friends at Westfield Health have provided tips and resources to help us all to combat stress. We can’t control everything that happens in our lives, but we can control our reaction to any given situation, and taking Westfield’s advice is a great way to start:

    • Plan ahead: While we can’t predict the future, planning gives us control over our time.
    • Give mindfulness a try: Meditation can change the pathways in the brain to reduce anxiety and boost your mood.
    • Keep in touch: A good chat with friends or colleagues helps you process your thoughts.
    • Stay active: Exercise is a great way to boost your feel good hormones and release tension.
    • Breathe easily: Breathe in to a count of four, hold your breath for four and then slowly exhale for a count of four. Repeating this for five minutes helps your body relax.

     Employers and colleagues alike all have a duty to reduce the stress levels of employees to improve workplace wellbeing and, in turn, productivity, and Westfield’s tips are well worth following regularly.

    Here at HDN we particularly like the third tip, so put the kettle on and help each other to manage your stress.

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