It's Stress Awareness Month, a topic we at Urban Wellness Hub & Float really care about.
For this blog, I want to touch on stress, and how it affects you in the workplace and then provide some tips on how to manage it effectively.
Stress is a common issue that many people face in the workplace. It can arise from various sources such as workload, deadlines, conflicts with colleagues, and even job insecurity/uncertainty.
Although a little bit of stress can sometimes be motivating, excessive or prolonged stress can have negative effects on your mental and physical health, as well as your job performance. Let's have a look at some areas you need to be aware of.
Your mind health
One of the most significant effects of stress is on mental health. Prolonged or excessive stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and burnout, all of which can have a significant impact on your job performance.
When you are stressed, it can be challenging to :
- Focus on your work
- Make decisions
- Communicate effectively with colleagues
Recognise any of this? You may also experience mood swings, irritability, and a lack of motivation, which can make it difficult to meet deadlines or complete tasks to the best of your ability.
Your physical health
Stress also has a direct impact on your physical health.
It can cause; headaches, muscle tension (do you rub your neck constantly or find yourself gritting your teeth?), fatigue, and even chronic pain.
Additionally, stress can lead to poor sleep patterns, making you feel even more tired and less focused at work.
Some of us don't realise, but hopefully, it clicked a little after reading through the above, bus stress may directly impact your job performance.
When you are stressed, you may find it challenging to concentrate on your work, and you may make mistakes/overlook important details. You may also find that you are less productive and take longer to complete tasks. Additionally, stress can lead to conflicts with colleagues, and it can be challenging to work effectively as part of a team.
What can we do about it?
Hopefully, the next part of this blog will give you some ideas. The great news is stress can be managed effectively in the workplace (and in life in general), but here are workplace-specific tips for now:
Prioritise your workload
When you have a lot of work to do. Identify the most critical tasks and focus on those first, so you don't feel overwhelmed. However, been there and done that and got a 'burnout badge of honour' for being unable to prioritise.
(Pro Tip: If something is going to take a piece of focused time, set a timer of 30-45 minutes as generally that's all the focused capacity we have, turn off your notifications on your phone and shut down the emails... and get really focussed. When the alarm goes then stop and take a break and reset the brain.)
Take regular breaks
Taking regular breaks can help you stay productive. Even just a few minutes to stop, and get away from your desk will give you the opportunity to move about/stretch.
Pro Tip: If you know you hold tension in your neck and shoulders - specifically stretch these areas out. If you are not sure how to do this, I have a number of neck and shoulder videos of stretches on my yoga Facebook page.
Practice relaxation or mindfulness techniques
Things such as a five-minute relaxation or meditation (easily found on YouTube, breathing exercises, or yoga can help you to reduce your stress levels and improve your focus) I'll dive deeper into all of this, so you can be aware of the different ways to use it (as I am aware this is not for everyone and/or you don't even know where to start.....which can be stressful! And we don't want that!)
If you are struggling with stress, don't be afraid to seek support from colleagues, managers, or a mental health professional.
Take care of your physical health:
Regular movement and exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep can all help you to manage stress more effectively.
(Pro Tip: If the word exercise makes you think "urgh", just try starting small. That short break we mentioned earlier away from your desk......extend the time of it and go for a long walk around the building. Or when you park up your car/get home at night......... take a lap around the block, just to get the fresh air and movement on board.)
Hopefully, that's given you some ideas. And, if there is one thing I hope you can take from this, it is that self-awareness and being able to spot signs and symptoms of stress are key!
If you are aware you are stressed, please acknowledge it.