Stress is common in the workplace. A moderate level of stress can be both healthy and productive, but if faced with high stress levels over a sustained period of time, you fatigue more easily and your performance can suffer. Even worse – chronic stress affects your physical and mental health, leading to increased risk and intensity of depression, anxiety, headaches and other symptoms.
Unhealthy stress levels in the workplace are also costly for businesses, with recent statistics from Safe Work Australia estimating that 90% of worker’s compensation claims relating to a mental health issue are linked to work-related stress or mental stress.
Even if it is not possible to reduce your workload, stress management techniques can help to reduce the health burden of stress. Whenever you feel under pressure, use these techniques to de-stress:
- Mindfulness. A short breathing exercise or other mindfulness activity will help to calm your nervous system and bring you back to the present moment. Visit the Black Swan Health YouTube channel for guided mindfulness activities for the workplace and more.
- Regular Exercise. Physical activity is a natural de-stressor that releases endorphins and actually helps you feel more energised. Try exercising before work or on your lunch break to prepare yourself for the work ahead. You can also try these 30-second exercises for the office.
- Ask for support. It’s okay to raise concerns about your workload. If you are unable to meet current deadlines or take on additional work, communicate with the relevant stakeholders as early as possible so that an alternative solution can be reached as a team.
- Take a lunch break. Having a break in the middle of the day will boost your energy levels and brain function for the afternoon, improving your ability to cope with stress. Use your lunch break to de-stress by connecting with colleagues, going for a walk or spending some time in nature.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Your diet affects your energy levels and the hormones that make you feel stressed. As our dietary choices tend to worsen with stress, it’s important to make a special effort to avoid sugary foods and stimulants (including coffee) as they lead to inconsistent energy levels and suboptimal brain function.
To find out how Black Swan Health’s Employee Assistance Program can improve outcomes for your business, click here.