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Stress Awareness Week

According to new polls,nearly half(47%) of employees have experienced “excessive stress” in the workplace over the last year, with one third of workers taking time off for mental health reasons. One in eight have considered quitting their roles, and one in ten have actually done so. As the UK is fighting theworst candidate shortagesince 1997 in the epoch of the Great Resignation, the health and wellbeing of teams should be prioritised.

The mental health epidemic we are facing is the culmination of nearly two years of job uncertainty and financial distress (amongst other things) and now, Google searches have seen a 221 per centspike in searches for ‘signs of burnout’.

A stressed workforce is a major predictor of burnout and mental ill-health. Therefore, with the arrival ofStress Awareness Weekthis week, we’re focussing on raising awareness around mental health and stress management for professionals. While not everything is in our control, there are some things we can do individually to reduce and manage stressors.

 

Set some game rules

Establishing boundaries in today’s ever-connected remote world can limit work life from creeping into home life. First, it’s important to identify your priorities and allocate your time and energy accordingly - simple rules such as no devices from 7pm or leaving the office at lunchtime to go for a short walk creates some distance between the two and disassociates work from play.

If necessary, reach out to a manager or supervisor to discuss ways to set some boundaries, and seek support if needed. There’s no shame in needing some extra help.

 

Be self-aware

Self-awareness comes hand in hand with emotional intelligence and self-control. TheLife Coach Directorysays a good level of self-awareness means knowing what your key triggers are and how to manage them. In a professional sense, planning your work tasks around your energy levels or opting to work in quieter places when distractions are high, can help you take control and reduce the impact of stress triggers.

 

Recharge

In the UK, people often ‘live to work’ compared to our European counterparts who ‘work to live’. Our laissez-faire neighbours are often perceived to have the optimal work-life balance, partly due to their focus on wellbeing and attitude to recharging.

Studies showthat taking time off to recharge, whether to go on holiday or simply reset mentally, can help improve focus and productivity and alleviates burnout. It’s important to remember that you are a person outside of the office, with hobbies, interests, and passions – and allowing yourself to indulge in these will only positively impact your work life. Make sure to use up all your allocated holiday days before they’re lost!

When employers and employees experience stress at work, performance and productivity can take a hit. When a study by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) finds over17.9 million working dayswere lost last year due to work-related stress and anxiety, employers should focus on developing and maintaining a supportive and compassionate workplace. In the same way, employees should take initiative in managing their own stressors.

We spend a third of our lives at work, so this Stress Awareness Week, let’s focus on creating a new norm for workplace wellbeing.