Getting stressed – no matter how hard we try to prevent it, it’s something that all of us experience. And that’s ok, it happens, it’s a part of being human. It’s how we manage it that matters.
It can be difficult to strike the perfect stress-free balance between our busy personal lives and careers – and that’s something I have been struggling with recently. Life can be demanding!
However, as a certified mental health positive employer, Optix Solutions are committed to the well-being of their team and widely encourage conversions about mental health.
In fact, the agency’s positive, open, and supportive approach to mental well-being is one of the key reasons I was drawn to working there.
According to a 2018 poll, by the Mental Health Foundation and YouGov, a whopping 74% of people feel so stressed that they have been overwhelmed.
After feeling a little exhausted with everything life had thrown at me recently, and after a very helpful chat with my colleagues (cheers Rob and Jack), it got me thinking – what are some of the best ways I’ve learned to deal with stress?
Here are four of my favourite techniques to manage stress in the workplace and at home:
Setting boundaries is so important.
I’m not one to shy away from speaking up, but I have been guilty of saying ‘yes’ too often. Yet, taking a step back and reviewing what your limits are can have a hugely positive impact – it can prevent burnout, improve self-esteem and emotional well-being, and allow you to develop a stronger sense of identity.
It can be daunting to set boundaries but putting yourself first doesn’t mean you’re a less dedicated friend or employee.
Being firm but flexible where possible will also show that you’ve thought of alternatives after saying ‘no’ – for instance, collaborating with a colleague instead of taking on a big project by yourself.
Once you’ve figured out where your boundaries lie, communicate them clearly. If you won’t reply to work messages received after 6pm, let people know by popping it in your email signature - switching off is a form of self-care!
Exercise in any form is an incredibly effective stress buster.
The gym is something I’ve incorporated into my own routine, and it’s been hugely beneficial. Exercise allows you to ‘zone out’ for a while and the endorphins (the brain’s ‘feel good neurotransmitters’) released as a result can help massively improve your mood. Coupled with improved sleep and better overall physical health, it’s a no-brainer.
Whether you’re lifting barbells after a long day of meetings, or simply heading out for a walk on your lunch break, it all helps.
Focusing on your body’s movements will enable you to forget the day’s stresses and tensions, and help you take back control. It’s meditation in motion.
Talking of meditation, this is something I encourage everyone to do.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and there’s a good reason for it – it restores a sense of inner calm and balance, which can seem almost impossible to achieve in today’s hectic world. It’s a fantastic habit to get into as it builds resilience to stress.
Meditation takes practice but it’s worth it – it can increase employees’ productivity by 120% (Project Meditation). You don’t have to spend hours each day meditating, as little as five minutes each morning can help you feel relaxed and refreshed for the rest of the day.
Taking this tiny bit of time out for the benefit of your mental health will give you a clear head – a vital component to achieving your goals in and out of work.
It sounds cliché, but talking to someone when you’re feeling stressed really does improve things.
Talking with somebody you trust gives you a different perspective and insight on the issues at hand and helps you to see the situation more clearly. You may also find that you’re not alone in the way that you feel.
I’ve learned firsthand that bottling things up isn’t the answer. I’ve also learned that when I do that, those built-up emotions will eventually burst out (typically at a really inappropriate time too). There’s nothing wrong with having a good rant, and sometimes all we really need is someone to listen to us.
I know that when I’ve spoken to people in the past about stress, I almost always wish I had done it a lot sooner. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved…and my inbox is always open to anyone who wants to talk!
Life is too short to be stressed. For additional mental health support, TALKWORKS offer can equip you with the skills you need to help you feel like you again. You don’t have to struggle with stress alone.