Stress affects us all, a little bit of stress can be good for us and helps us get focused and motivated. But exposing the body to prolonged stress, where you feel threatened or under too much pressure, can lead to mental and physical symptoms.
Stress can be both real or perceived, it can be internal or external and can affect one or all of the dimensions of your wellbeing including:
sense of purpose
The total load of all stressors you are experiencing is known as the allostatic load and for each person their ability to deal with stressors will be different.
When it comes to the workplace stressors can include:
Too much sitting down leading to lower back pain
Unrealistic deadlines, decision fatigue
Poor lighting or ventilation, pollution, loud noises
Bullying or fear of losing your job
Feeling disconnected from colleagues or unsupported by your boss
Feeling like what you are doing has no meaning
Feeling like you are not getting paid a fair wage
Feeling stressed can affect our mood, appetite, immune system, ability to interact with others, can lead to abusing alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism, poor sleep and mental or physical illness.
Our ability to rest and recover is key to managing stress, but this too is unique to us as an individual and will depend on our genetic makeup, attitude and outlook, life experiences and our perception of control over any given stressful situation.
You can do anything, just not everything!
Ways to tackle stress include:
Develop a good sleep routine
Exercise - even better with friends
Build a strong support network or friends and/or family with whom you can share your emotions
Focus on time management and prioritisation - don't sweat the small stuff
Forget perfection, it doesn't exist!
Get back to nature - walking or gardening
Ditch the junk food, your body needs nutritious food to repair itself
Start a gratitude journal and cultivate a more positive mindset
All these things will help you to build your resilience so that next time you face a stressful situation you will be in a better physical and mental state to deal with the challenge.
If you run a corporate wellbeing programme then think about how you can help your staff to deal with the workplace stressors that may be unique to your company. If you need help then just get in touch with us.
Visit the NHS Every Mind Matters website for more information and advice on how to deal with stress: