Living in today’s fast paced modern world, we all experience stress in many different ways but what’s the impact it has on our mind and body?

stress

  • How many of us are consumed with trying to achieve and a million and one things in a day that we are at the point of exhaustion? Trying to please everyone, but forgetting the most important person…our self? Stress is the one of the major leading absences for long-term sickness in the corporate world.
  • 2nd November 2016 is National Stress Awareness Day, many organisations will be promoting the importance of stress awareness across their company and reminding their employees on ways to manage stress effectively through support channels and techniques that they can introduce into their daily life.
  • In 2014/15 stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.

Long hours, work pressures, being the perfect parent/spouse/friend/child; we are all trying to live a life where we can fit everything and everyone into our daily lives. Most of us will struggle to switch off from our busy and demanding lives, especially when social media is constant and we are accessible at all times through technology devices that this can leave us feeling extremely anxious. Stress is now one of the leading reasons for long-term absence in the work place, the 2nd November is National Stress Awareness Day. Majority of organisations have measures in place to promote stress awareness to employees throughout the year, but this is a great day to remind everyone of the impacts and how to better manage stress in our lives. According to the Absence Management Survey Report carried out by the CIPD in 2015, two-fifths of it’s survey’s respondents commented that stress-related absence has increased over the last year and that workload remains the most common cause of stress followed by non-work relationships/family, management style and relationships at work.

So how are companies dealing with raising stress awareness? Employee engagement surveys help to provide HR leaders with an understanding of where people are and from this are able to introduce flexible working options with more companies providing working from home options and reducing hours where possible. It is down to the individual to check in with his or her own stress levels and to assess what could be causing stress in their life and look at ways to help reduce major stress to help achieve a better work life balance. We are all consumed with rushing around that we forget to enjoy the moment and take on what is actually happening in our life at that point in time. Being mindful has proven a success at helping to lower stress. Taking time to sit and reflect allows the brain to stop and catch up, this is when great ideas start to flow and creativity is at it’s best.

The impacts of stress on the body can result in high blood pressure resulting in heart attacks or stroke. Most people will struggle with sleep, anxiety and migraines.

There are many different ways to deal with stress, but we are all different and what may work for one might not be the case for all.

Here are some suggestions on how to help manage stress

  • There are some great apps out there that you can put onto your smartphone to help with calming your mind through mediation. Make an appointment with yourself for 10 minutes each day, and commit to time out for your mind.
  • Make a list of all the tasks that are running around in your mind that you need to do. Prioritise these tasks into three categories:
    • The first is high priority and to be completed urgently
    • The second is that it needs to be completed within a week
    • The third is to be completed within the month

By prioritising your tasks, it helps to ease the overwhelming thoughts as well as how it looks on paper. This makes it achievable and realistic.

  • Limit your technology time in the evening. Looking at screens before bed keeps our eyes alert and we are unable to switch off if dealing with emails or other tasks, leaving our minds active. Put a do not disturb timer on your phone to stop alerts in the evening so that you are not on edge when it pings with incoming messages.
  • Allocate time in the week to spend an hour with your team or colleagues for lunch or drinks after work. This means that you are stepping away to socially engage with the people you work with which helps to build relationships in the work environment. Make sure the topics discussed are not work related!
  • Get active! Go for a walk, run or swim to help clear your mind. Being outdoors works a treat as you take in everything going on around you. Yoga is great for both mindfulness and exercise, working all muscles in the body and focusing on your breathing whilst being in the moment.

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Josie Copsey spent 17 years in the corporate world helping companies such as Unilever, Royal Bank of Scotland and Superdry to transform their business and develop their people personally and professionally. Josie’s experience in transformation and wellbeing has helped to change thousands of people lives.

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