Last week was International Stress Awareness Week; a week dedicated to raising awareness about stress and its impact; and to reduce stigma. It started out as just one day – National Stress Awareness Day – the first Wednesday of November, however has grown into a week long, international event. It seems extremely poignant that this year it took place as England went in to a second National lockdown…
When it comes to stress, the truth is not all stress is created equal. Stress (healthy pressure) is an in evitable part of life but chronic stress (overload) is very different. We must all manage the way we respond to #excesspressures and #overload (that cause chronic stress and ultimately burnout). The key is knowing the warning signs in yourself and others!
There are many definitions of stress, we like this…. according to the NHS and Every Mind Matters:
“Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. It’s very common, can be motivating to help us achieve things in our daily life, and can help us meet the demands of home, work and family life. But too much stress can affect our mood, our body and our relationships – especially when it feels out of our control. It can make us feel anxious and irritable, and affect our self-esteem.”
From here on in we are going to focus on too much stress and helping you to “address your stress”!
Whilst there are plenty of ‘normal everyday’ factors which could make us feel more stressed, there is absolutely no doubt that the outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this year has definitely been a trigger for many of us. The crisis and pandemic has reached in to every aspect of our lives, including our work, our children, our families and our social habits. And…just as we thought we overcome the impossible…it seems that it is all about to happen again!
Here at Tonic we say that one of the most important skills we can all learn is how to address our stress. Yes, it is a personal thing; and yes it is different for each and everyone one of us nonetheless some fundamentals apply to us all.
With the right tools; understanding the vitals signs we thoroughly believe that; although the thought of a second National lockdown makes us feel stressed; we can be positive, resilient and even maintain our performance!
Earlier this year we completed a number of effective and informative PDFs about coping with and managing stress during the coronavirus pandemic, all of which are still as relevant as ever and available here:
There are two main different types of stress which can have very different effects on our lives. Understanding which type of stress that you are experiencing means you can learn the most effective way to address your stress.
Acute stress is the most common form of stress and can throw you off-balance momentarily. This is the type of stress that comes on quickly and often unexpectedly. Acute Stress doesn’t last long, but requires a response, such as an argument with someone, important exams, changes in the workplace, etc.
Sign and Symptoms of Acute Stress include:
Your body’s stress response is triggered with acute stress. This can be quickly reversed with simple relaxation techniques, including simple breathing exercises; and learning to change the way we manage and react to situations.
Chronic stress is the type of stress will leave you feeling drained and can lead to burnout if it’s not effectively managed. When stress responses are chronically triggered and the body is not brought back to a relaxed state before the next wave of stress hits, the body can stay triggered indefinitely. Chronic stress comes when someone can never see a way out of a situation. It’s the stress of unrelenting demands and pressures for extended periods of time.
Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Stress include:
Chronic stress can lead to a host of mental and physical health issues including cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal issues, anxiety, depression, to name just a few. To read in more detail please:
Work-related stress has been and continues to be a huge concern; now more than ever as boundaries between our home life and work have become increasingly very blurred!
Drivers of stress in the workplace include:
‘Work-related stress is one of the biggest health hazards in the workplace. Stress is difficult to identify, but it can be caused by excessive workloads or pressure placed on employees.’
Although some short term workplace stress is normal, in other cases, it can cause mental and physical illnesses. By that we mean anxiety, depression, altered appetite, headaches, backache or difficulty in sleeping. If stress hormones are triggered in your body for extended periods, they can even lead to many symptoms physical, mental and emotional. As a result, stress has a significant negative impact on your daily performance.
Reducing or eliminating stress at work is key if you, your colleagues and organisation are going to thrive. In order to reduce or eliminate your workplace stress, it’s important to get a head start and create a healthy, positive lifestyle.
“In life, there’s always a solution to a problem. Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will only make your problems worse.” Professor Cary Cooper, Occupational Health Expert
Stress Management is a field that Tonic Founder Becca is both passionate about and has considerable experience in; working tirelessly with individuals and organisations to successfully address stress over the last 16 years.
“If you’re dealing with uncertainty, you probably have stress in your body, even if it’s not at the forefront of your thoughts in this exact moment.”
Over time, chronic stress affects your blood pressure, blood sugar, muscle tension, cholesterol level, breathing rate, and every organ in your body. That’s why it is VITAL to incorporate stress reduction techniques into your every day. Ideally simple breathing, or a mindful walk, even if it’s just for ten minutes – the key is consistency; do it daily!
If you would like to read more, why not visit the Tonic Blog? From understanding how you could get more quality sleep, question if you are drinking more during lockdown, discovering the benefits of being more physical active to help and support on managing your mental health, the Tonic Team cover each and every pillar of wellbeing.
For those interested in a full Tonic Lifestyle Assessment, powered by #Firstbeat, which will provide you with physiological data that we then translate into personalised insights, helping you to manage stress and enhance recovery – please contact Becca directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastly as we sign off, please rest assured we will be able to help. Please contact us if you need support.
The Tonic Wellbeing Team x
Tonic's workplace wellbeing app offers unlimited access to a library of health, wellbeing and lifestyle guidance and support.
We know that supporting engagement consistently leads to a more productive, healthier and resilient workforce. Therefore, our unique and innovative approach utilises intuitive digital technology, blended with personalised on-site services delivered by the Tonic team.