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April 26 2023
Emotional well-being in the workplace is a hot topic right now, but for all the right reasons. These days it’s more than ok to admit when times are tough, or when you feel you need some help coping with stress and anxiety. But how many of us are actually comfortable taking time out to assess how we really feel? How many of us are able to recognise when we need support? We all feel the strain from time to time, but nobody needs to suffer alone. Here are our tips to manage stress and anxiety.
A problem shared truly is a problem halved, and talking about the issues that are affecting you can be not only empowering but a great opportunity to find a solution too. Sometimes you just need to vent, and that’s ok. If you can, reach out to a colleague, friend or relative to talk through what’s on your mind. If your company has a wellbeing officer or an employee assistance programme, make an appointment with them.
There are also community services available if you prefer. The important thing is taking that first step to talk about what’s going on.
Knowing you need time out can be the hardest step of all, but being able to recognise the early signs of stress is crucial. Doing something about it is even more important still. Being kind to yourself doesn’t mean carrying on alone despite the escalating feelings of anxiety and stress. Self-care is about knowing when you need to slow down, and why.
Perhaps taking time off work is what you need. Perhaps it’s just an afternoon spent doing something that helps you take your mind off it all. Maybe it’s going for a run (exercise is known to boost endorphins and increase serotonin levels, which helps to make us feel more relaxed and happy). Whatever it takes, make sure you place importance on the things that help you to relax and unwind.
Sometimes being able to take yourself out of the moment, and spend a few minutes focusing on nothing more than your breathing can be all you need. There are breathing techniques that have been proven to lower stress and anxiety, slow the heart rate and induce a feeling of calm instead.
Other mindful activities you can try include yoga, meditation, and even colouring. Whatever you find that you enjoy, that helps you to focus on only the task in hand, can help. So it might be reading a book, going for a swim or simply taking a long walk. Try to focus on your breathing during these activities, clearing your mind as much as you can as you do so. It takes some practise, but you will get there if you persevere.
In today’s digital world, it’s all too easy to become immersed in the trials and tribulations of the world, and this can quickly become relentless. Taking a digital detox every now and then can be extremely effective- you don’t really realise how stressful the constant notifications are until you switch them off!
If you can’t manage a whole weekend without your phone, try employing some stricter rules around usage instead. Add a do not disturb setting every single day, and leave your phone outside the room when you sit down to relax of an evening. You might even want to lock it away in a drawer if you think you might be tempted to check it!
Taking some time away from email and social media is vital for us all- and while it might seem daunting at first, if you fill your time with mindful activities (see above!) You’ll soon find you don't miss it at all.
Everyone needs someone, and if you’ve allowed work to get in the way of important relationships, now is the time to make some changes. Cherish your friendships, nurture the relationships you’ve made over the years and make time to just chill with the people you love.
Simply being the in presence of the people who understand us best can be the best remedy for stress and anxiety. And, of course, lean on those shoulders when you need to- whether it’s to laugh or cry.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the here and now, and to forget that time can be a great healer. Every stress and strain we feel can only ever be temporary if we learn how to lean in to life’s challenges and look towards a time when balance can be restored. Often it’s how we cope with struggles that can make or break us, so attempting to visualise easier times can be a great strategy for dealing with stress and anxiety.
Life can and will get better. Taking care of yourself, acknowledging the obstacles that you find difficult and finding solutions to help you cope are all important steps you can take when things become too much. And don’t forget that you’re not alone. We all feel the effects of stress from time to time- that’s what makes us normal human beings.