Guest blog by Melissa Britton, Positive Psychology Coach, Vitality at Work
“Research shows that three quarters of people in the UK have felt overwhelmed by stress. While short bursts of stress can be beneficial – such as giving us the energy and focus to complete a task at work for example – long term exposure to stress can be extremely debilitating to people’s physical and mental health.
“We know that stress can be triggered by a variety of factors from pressure in the workplace to family and health worries or even financial concerns. If left unchecked, stress can have a severe impact on people’s lives and lead to other symptoms such as anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and a loss of confidence. National Stress Awareness Month provides a great opportunity for us to think more consciously about our wellbeing, including how we can recognise the symptoms of stress and manage it more effectively.
“Common signals to watch out for if you think someone might be struggling include self-isolation, sudden changes to a person’s mood, tearfulness, fatigue and a loss of concentration. If you notice someone close to you is exhibiting any of these behaviours, we recommend opening a conversation with them to see if they need support.”
We have outlined Vitality’s five top tips for coping with stress
- Perspective is everything
When we are feeling stressed it can be easy to get caught up in the negatives. When facing a challenge, it is important to reframe the situation in a positive way by noting what you might learn from the situation.
- Take 10
When faced with highly stressful situations it can be easy to become irritable with our colleagues, family or friends and enter in to conflict. If you find that you are highly irritable or overwhelmed, take a step back from the situation to calm yourself. Mindfulness Apps offers a range of brilliant exercises you can listen to for just 10 minutes to help you to calm yourself and get back to yourself.
- Disconnect from the workplace
We are constantly connected to our employer via our phones and we no longer work a simple 9-5 job, with many of us responding to emails any time of night. Set boundaries with your work, if possible decide a time you will log off and not look at emails.
- Assign time to feel good
Taking time out to unwind or to do something fun with friends is vital for achieving balance. This has also been proven to evoke positive emotions which can help us to better manage stressful situations more effectively in the future. Fun, physical exercise is a great way to get those endorphins going with these positive behaviour habits contributing to your overall physical wellbeing too.
- Establish a bed time routine
If you are feeling stressed, you may find it difficult to switch off and go to sleep. To help with this, it’s important to have activities in place which tell your body that it’s time to go to sleep. Try having a warm shower or bath before bed or drinking a warm drink which is caffeine free. It’s important to avoid screen use where possible as this will only make you more alert, so try relaxing with a book instead.