What is Stress?

Stress is something we all encounter in our everyday routines. Whether we’re at home, travelling, shopping or working, when too much pressure or too many demands are placed on us, it can result in stress. The care and health sectors bring some of the most pressured and demanding working environments, so naturally stress levels are high. It’s important to understand it’s not an individual weakness, it’s a side-effect of having too much on our plate for too long.

Pressure and demands can be motivating factors as well. Our body releases adrenaline that helps us perform better and we feel rewarded with a sense of accomplishment when we overcome challenges. Stress is the opposite, when we’ve had adrenaline for a prolonged time, it can affect our performance negatively and makes us question our self-value. Too much of this can lead to ill physical and mental health.

What Can Lead to Stress?

  • Having too much or too little to do, inadequate training and short deadlines.
  • Being bullied, discriminated or harassed or having poor relationships with others.
  • Working long or inflexible hours or not having good work-life balance.
  • Being subjected to dangerous or poor physical working conditions.
  • Poor management style – a lack of control, communication, consultation, support or development.

Coping Your Own Way

Facing the struggle alone can make things worse. If you recognise when yourself or someone else is dealing with stress in the workplace, it can help be relieved in various ways. Daily check-ins, talking about workloads and sharing responsibilities amongst the team is a simple but strong stress reducer. However, it’s not always that easy. As some care businesses are having difficulty maintaining staffing levels due to illness and childcare, sharing the workload may not always be an option.

Here are some proven tips for increasing positive mental wellbeing and mindfulness that you can do throughout the day, which should decrease the amount of time you spend focusing on stress:

  • If possible, take regular breaks throughout the day – it’s important to have a bit of you time.
  • Eat healthy – you’ll feel better, be more focused and have more energy.
  • Cut down/stop smoking and drinking – tobacco and alcohol are commonly used as temporary stress release but they don’t treat the deeper issue.
  • Cut down on caffeine and drink more water – high energy levels can make you feel anxious and eventually they can crash.
  • Be physically active – exercise releases endorphins which make us feel great!
  • Stay focused on the solution, not the problem.
  • Practice meditation – this doesn’t need to be done sat down cross-legged, you can stand up, lay down or sit on your sofa. Clear your mind.
  • Unwind after a long or stressful shift – see our top tips here.

There are many ways to fight stress. Find the methods that work for you. The overall theme is self-improvement, taking time to care for yourself and changing your mindset so stress doesn’t stay with you long-term. If there is little that can be done at the workplace due to low resources, switch your efforts to making changes to your personal life and the benefits should carry over to your professional life. The idea is you’ll be happier, healthier and ready to take on more challenges.

You may also find this helpful: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep – Our Top Four Tips

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