Stress Awareness Month: How To Reduce Stress At Work
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Did you know that April is National Stress Awareness Month?

Stress affects all of us to some degree, but it can be a huge problem if left unchecked. While a small amount of stress can help motivate us, chronic or long-term stress has hugely damaging effects on both mental and physical health.

Stress can arise from a number of sources (workplace pressure, problems with relationships, or ill health being some of the most common) but it can also be exacerbated by pre-existing mental health problems. Those who already struggle with their mental health are likely to feel stress more acutely than those who don’t.

Stress can be caused by one large event (e.g., an important business meeting or an exam) and quickly subside once it’s over. Others, however, find that stress follows them wherever they go and makes day to day life difficult.

The good news? There are ways to reduce the impact stress has on your life. You should try to take steps to reduce the external sources of stress, if possible (for example, asking for an extended deadline on a piece of work you’re struggling with), however this isn’t always feasible. If you can’t remove the source of stress itself, there are steps you can take to reduce its effect on you.

• Notice the ways tension shows up in your body. Most of us tense up our body without even realising it. Take a few moments throughout the day to unclench your jaw, relax your shoulders and sit up straighter. This will only take a few seconds, but it will help you to feel instantly more relaxed and comfortable.

• Find ways to separate work from the rest of your life. This could involve turning off work-related notifications on your days off, putting away all paperwork once you get home or separating your work calendar from your personal calendar on your phone. If you work from home, try to keep your work confined to one room if possible so that the rest of your space is reserved for relaxing.

• Work exercise into your routine. As tempting as it may be to spend your days off relaxing on the sofa, exercise is known for reducing not only stress, but symptoms of anxiety and depression. Exercise doesn’t have to mean running a marathon! Find a form of exercise that you enjoy – swimming, hiking and yoga are all low-impact forms of exercise that can help you feel less stressed in both the short and longer run.

• Make sure your diet is as balanced as possible. It’s difficult to reduce stress if your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs. Try to eat a balanced meals and snacks little and often throughout the day so you’re never getting overly hungry. Avoid relying too much caffeine to get started in the mornings as this will likely make you feel worse.

• Speak to others. Not only will it help to talk to family or friends about how you’re feeling, it also may be beneficial o speak to your GP if you’ve been struggling for a while. They will be able to advise you in more detail and help you to find additional support.

If you’d like to find out more, please explore the links below! 
 
Stress Management Society (www.stress.org.uk) 
Mind (www.mind.org.uk) 
NHS Mental Health Services (www.nhs.uk/mental-health) 
Mental Health Foundation (www.mentalhealth.org.uk) 
Blurt Foundation (www.blurtitout.org )