TGI Friday! Stress and wellbeing at work

As a student of Positive Psychology I was keen to write about wellbeing during International Stress Awareness Week (5 - 9 November). Ironically, trying to write a blog during a busy and, let’s face it, stressful, week was a challenge. In the end it came down to deciding that this was a priority for me, despite all the other demands. And for many others like myself, deciding not to allow stress to take hold has to be a conscious decision.

So what helps?

Drawing on the evidence-based findings of Positive Psychology, I found solace in

  • Gratitude - Although for some, the advice to ‘count your blessings’ can have annoyingly trite overtones, research has shown that taking time to acknowledge what is going well and what we value does raise our mood and calm us down.
  • Relationships – The support of friends and family often help us through difficult times and good relationships at work are also a great stress reliever so I’m grateful that I work with a lovely bunch of warm and supportive people here at VAL.
  • Physical health – Going out for a walk, even for just ten minutes, has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve mood and foster a more relaxed state of mind in which problem-solving can blossom. A good night’s sleep is equally restorative and diet too can make a big difference to how stressed we feel.
  • Mindfulness – Meditation is increasingly popular and extremely effective in warding off stress. 
  • Putting things in perspective – Personal mantras such as ‘this too shall pass’; the serenity prayer or simply recognising the value of what you are working towards can be helpful. Others find the bigger picture by taking time to gaze at the sky or the sea.
  • Humour – as my dear colleague suggested when I said I was struggling to find the time to finish this blog “Just leave it unfinished”.
  • See the Action for Happiness website for more ideas

Stress often has serious personal consequences in terms of physical and mental health. The HSE estimate that over 11 million workdays a year are lost because of stress at work. Employers have a legal duty to protect employees from workplace stress but many are joining a movement to go much further to make wellbeing at work a priority. This is not just a “nice to have” but sound economic sense in terms of reduced staff turnover and sick leave. Indeed, workplace wellbeing is associated with higher staff productivity and creativity. In short, take care of your employees and they will reward you with increased engagement, commitment and innovation. See the Happy Manifesto for more ideas.

If you are interested in exploring workplace wellbeing in a friendly, low pressure environment do sign up for my wellbeing workshop on Friday 30 November or contact me for more information: email christine@valewisham.org.uk tel 030 3778 0663.  

Image  Anti-stress Balls, Funny Troop, Max Pixel