The common adage for describing good health is ‘a healthy body, healthy mind’ and this is certainly true. We need to keep the two in equilibrium to be at our very best. Over the last few years, ‘self-care’ has become a popular theme across the social media landscape. For some people, self-care is salt baths and a chocolate cake treat, but in its most useful form, self-care is making the choice to build a life you don’t regularly need to escape from. This is much easier said than done.
As well as being a month of new life, sunshine and the path towards summer, April is also a month that’s used to mark Stress Awareness. Every year since 1992, Stress Awareness month is designed to increase public awareness about the causes and the cures for our modern stress epidemic.
Since the rise of social media, public awareness of mental health has subsequently grown and according to the Charity Mind, the amount of people with common mental health problems went up by 20% between 1993 – 2014. 2020’s Covid Pandemic hit us hard, and we saw a sharp increase in poor mental health. Approximately 1 in 10 children and young people now suffer from mental health problems according to the Mental Health Foundation, so it’s no wonder that self-care is such a hot topic.
We now live in such a fast-paced device driven world and this can have a big impact on our stress levels. When stress is not addressed or managed, it leads to anxiety and depression as well as physical health conditions such as heart disease, insomnia and digestive problems.
Here’s our tips for managing and reducing stress in the workplace
- Workplace wellness should be encouraged. Exercise is a great weapon against stress in general, so try and include some exercise in the workplace. Exercise improves our mood by increasing the production of endorphins. Employees often sit huddled around their desk all day and eat lunch at their desk too, which does very little for increasing productivity. Going for a walk on your lunch break does wonders for reducing stress and increasing productivity. Would you rather have burnt out staff who make mistakes or productive staff who have the energy to offer more?
- Book wellbeing sessions to reward your staff. Last year, the Birch team were treated with a relaxing professional back massage during their working day. This had a positive impact on reducing stress levels as well as increasing team morale.
- Many of us spend a lot of time sitting down all day which can mean you feel de-energised, so it’s really important to make sure your office seats are comfortable, adjustable and provide you with the correct back support. Your PC screen should be at eye level and approx. 20-40 inches away from you to protect your eyes. Screen breaks are recommended every hour for at least 5 minutes to protect your eyes from the intense work they’re doing.
- Social activity both in and outside the office environment should be actively encouraged. We spend most of our life with our colleagues and the more comfortable they are with each other, the less anxious they will feel. Team building events and challenges to raise money for charity are a sure-fire way of bringing the team together and helping others in the process.
- Flexible hours and remote working can really enhance an individual’s work satisfaction levels. Some people work well at home or in a café and at different times of the day, so give your employees the flexibility to work to their optimum. It’s important to show that you trust your employees, so encourage your employees to work remotely and flexibly. Let them know that their job is defined by the quality and delivery of their work as opposed to showing up bang on their contracted hours. If employees deliver better at home or at different times of the day, then it’s a no brainer. You’ll always be getting the best from your team.
- Employee recognition is a brilliant way to reduce stress levels and increase productivity. We all love being told we’ve done a good job. Due to differing personalities in many organisations, you should be mindful on how and when to recognise employees. There are small subtle things you can do to show your appreciation such as a card on their desk or a genuine ‘Thank you’ for their hard work.
We hope you find these tips useful.
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