7 Nov 2018
National Stress Awareness Day
Today (7 November) is National Stress Awareness Day.
Maintaining a work-life balance is important for us all. Some pressure in life is useful - it can make work feel more satisfying and helps us to stick to deadlines.
However, too much pressure can cause stress, and work-related stress is known to be one of the biggest causes of ill health and absence in the UK.
Below are a few simple tips to help you manage the balance of your life and to manage your stress levels both at work and in your personal life.
- Manage your time more effectively: Make a to-do list and estimate how long things will take. If it can be done in five minutes, do it immediately. If it requires more time or needs breaking down into steps, think realistically how long this might take and schedule time in your diary to do this. It might be appropriate to delegate tasks or drop unimportant ones.
- Establish a routine: Identify times of the day when you are most alert and plan your activities around this. For example, if you are a morning person, it might be better to arrive earlier at work and complete more difficult tasks during this time when you are performing at your best. If you feel you are losing concentration, take a short break or go for a quick walk, or start another task instead.
- Live a healthier lifestyle: Exercise helps to give us a sense of wellbeing, and will help your muscles to relax. Evidence shows that physical activity can help protect people against anxiety and can help people with mild depression.
- Watch what you eat and drink: Avoid drinking too much caffeine and alcohol, and try not to smoke. Eat regular meals each day, and aim for a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables included.
- Talk to someone or write it down: Speak to a friend, relative or manager if you feel overwhelmed. This can help you to get worries off your chest and gain a fresh perspective, and talking to your manager about your workload and how you are feeling can alleviate the stress you are experiencing each day. Alternatively, you might find writing things down that are worrying you can help to clear your mind.
- Reflect and relax: At the end of each day look at what you’ve achieved, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Try incorporating relaxation techniques such as aromatherapy, breathing exercises, massage or mindfulness into your life to give you some time to feel calm.
- Don’t be afraid to say no, or to ask for help when you need it: It can take a lot to admit things have got a bit much for you, but trying to take on too much can make you stressed and leave you feeling exhausted.
- Make your work and home environment as comfortable as possible: Avoid clutter, personalise your space and make sure you have a comfortable chair if you work in an office.
- Don’t procrastinate: If there’s something you keep putting off, ask yourself why you’re avoiding it, and break it down into smaller steps so it doesn’t seem as intimidating. If it’s something new and you don’t know where to start, ask for help, it shows you’re keen to do a good job.
- Take up a new hobby or interest: Finding a new hobby can help you to look forward to something and take your mind off some of the things in your life that may be causing you stress.
The University will be running a number of activities today to mark the awareness day. These include Fitness Boxing with Barry Shine from 12pm-1pm, and Fitness Yoga at 1pm-2pm with Paul Tyson. Both sessions are taking place at the Holywell Fitness Centre, and are free to attend – just turn up!
The Staff Development Team still have slots available between 2pm-3pm where you can learn more about how to build your resilience and find out more about upcoming events related to wellbeing at work. Please email email@example.com to book a fifteen-minute slot.
If you need someone to talk to, or you need support through life’s ups and downs, you may find it helpful to use the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
The service provides legal, financial and emotional support and access to counselling services 24 hours a day and can be contacted by ringing 0800 111 6387.
More information about coping with stress can also be found on the following websites: