A certain amount of stress can be positive as it can help you prepare for actions and challenges. However, nobody can function properly if they are stressed for a prolonged period of time, and it can cause both mental and physical problems. Contributor Luke James, Clinical Director – Bupa UK.
Safeguarding employees’ mental health and wellbeing is becoming a boardroom priority for businesses as it helps to ensure that their people thrive, and are at their best at work and home. We partner with businesses – big and small – across the UK to help their employees manage their mental well being.
Below are some tips for how to manage stress
Know your limits – don’t take on too much. This is much harder to say than do but it’s the key starting point to managing your stress levels. Write to-do lists and then go through it and work out the things that have to be done and others that can wait. Don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t get through everything all at once. If colleagues or friends are relying on you to do something, keep them updated on when you expect to do the task. This will help to manage their expectations and make you feel in control.
Accept the things you can’t change, and start concentrating on the things you have control over. It might be that your commute to work is always busy and stressful and this isn’t going to change, but you can try to while away the time reading a book or listening to music or a podcast to take your mind off it.
Try to exercise on a regular basis as it can help improve our mood, boost self-esteem and reduce feelings of stress. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, as long as you enjoy it and can do it on a regular basis. If you feel like you don’t have time to exercise try to incorporate it to your everyday life, such as walk or cycle to work instead of driving or taking public transport, if you have children, take them to the park to play a game or get outdoors and do some gardening.
Make time for the activities you enjoy and for the things that make you feel relaxed – you’re more likely to neglect this area of your life if you’re stressed. It can be a vicious cycle, if you’re stressed then you won’t do something fun or relaxing but often this could be the exact antidote to feelings of stress. Go to that gym class, book that theatre ticket and dedicate time to sit and read your favourite book.
Seek help if you identify that you’re struggling. Feeling stressed at work can also start to feel like part of normal life – and half the battle of coping with stress is recognising it. So it’s important that you’re happy with what you can and can’t cope with and ask for help when you need it. You may feel that speaking to your line manager helps or may feel that you need medical support- Bupa’s Mental Health Advantage, can provide this guidance with help from specialist mental health consultants.”