Work-Related Stress – Mental Health Awareness Week 2018
Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed or anxious? You’re not alone.
According to research by YouGov for the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of people have felt so stressed in the last year that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope in the last year alone.
Let’s rewind a minute. This week, 14th-20th May is Mental Health Awareness Week, with this year focussing on stress. While stress isn’t a mental health problem itself, it’s often a precursor to depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide. It can also lead to physical health problems including cardiovascular disease and joint and muscle problems.
In the UK alone nearly 70 million days a year are lost from work each year due to mental ill health (anxiety, depression, and stress-related condition), with over half a million people suffering from work-related stress, making it the leading cause of sickness absence.
By tackling stress, we can go a long way to helping with mental health problems. So, we’ve put together 5 tips for spotting and tackling workplace stress:
1) Spot the Signs
As stress can be the cause of mental health (and physical) issues, spotting the first signs and pinpointing the causes is a key step in tackling stress. Signs of stress can include feeling over-burdened, irritable, aggressive, impatient and anxious. Would you be able to spot these signs if one of your employees was demonstrating them? A recent survey by Mind found that 42% of employees felt their managers would be able to spot if they were struggling with poor mental health. Regular communication with your team and colleagues can help spot the signs early.
2) Manage your time
A lot of people worry about not having enough time to complete their work. But, could you work smarter, rather than harder? Try keeping a week-long diary of how your time is split between work, home and activities. Then, see where you might be wasting time and think about how you could make some small changes to manage time differently and make life less stressful.
3) Encourage healthy habits
When feeling stressed, it’s common to reach for comfort food or to increase drinking and smoking. Eating healthily and doing regular exercise goes a long way to giving our minds and bodies the support it needs. Introducing free fruit in your canteens or break out areas, ditching traditional vending machines for healthier alternatives or setting up a reduced gym membership with a local fitness centre all contribute to a healthy body and mind.
4) Leave work at work
We know, this is a lot easier said than done in today’s connected world! But, depending on your role, try and separate your work life from your personal life. Plan activities and tasks you want to do at evenings and weekends that will take your mind off work and help you switch off.
5) Create a Stress Awareness Space
An initiative from the charity Mind, especially for Mental Health Awareness Week, it to create an area in the workplace that employees can feel safe talking about stress, run training courses, encourage exercise and organise mindfulness sessions. Mind also has a host of information and support available for employers and employees – click here for details
For more information on mental health awareness week and stress visit: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week