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National Stress Awareness Day – 7th November 2018

| Becca Clayton

Why Stress Awareness Day?

Held on the first Wednesday in November every year – it’s all about raising awareness of stress at home and at work. National Stress Awareness Day (this year on 7th Nov) is championed by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA). ISMA are a registered charity and the lead professional body for workplace and personal stress management. Since becoming a member some 14 years, Tonic has been all about promoting sound knowledge and best practice. Especially when it comes to stress management, well-being and performance. This year, celebrating its 20th anniversary, we are attending the annual Stress Conference in London. As well as promoting a whole week of activities with our clients. This year the theme is “Does Hi-Tech cause Hi-Stress?”

What is Stress?

What exactly is stress? There are many definitions… Put simply, it is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension. Usually resulting from adverse & demanding circumstances. The HSE definition of stress is ‘the adverse reaction a person has to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed upon them’.

Stress is primarily a physical response.  The body releases a complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine to prepare the body for physical action. And then comes to emotional response especially when our stress becomes prolonged.

What we certainly know is that stress affects everyone, young and old and is a completely normal reaction that all of us will experience from time to time when faced with situations that we feel under pressure in. There is a difference however between stress and pressure. We all experience pressure on a daily basis, and in fact we need it to motivate us and enable us to perform at our best (this is healthy). It’s when we experience too much pressure without the opportunity to recover that we start to experience stress (this is unhealthy). It is when it comes chronic that it is a real concern and it starts to adversely affect both our mental and physical health.

Stress at Work

Over 12.5 million days were lost at work in the UK last year because of stress anxiety and depression. And on average each person took 24 days off. (Source: HSE)

At Tonic we are very much about PREVENTION and PROTECTION so it is primary interventions that are key. Understanding hot spots and attempting to prevent stress in the workplace as much as possible. Tonic can help you to tackle work related stress; starting by identify issues at source and agreeing realistic and workable ways to tackle them.

Under UK law, employers have a ‘duty of care’ to protect the health, safety and welfare of all employees while at work. Employers also have to assess the risks arising work-related stress.

To help us to protect our clients and their staff, we start with a risk assessment for work-related stress. We use the HSE Management Standards. These are essentially risk factors. These are:

■ the DEMANDS of your job;
■ your CONTROL over your work;
■ the SUPPORT you receive from managers and colleagues;
■ your RELATIONSHIPS at work;
■ your ROLE in the organisation;
CHANGE and how it’s managed.

If you, your organisation, or even your department needs help in gaining a better understanding of what these risk factors look like in your workplace, this is where we suggest you start!

If perhaps you have already completed a stress risk assessment then we can help with secondary interventions, to help employees cope with and manage stress. We offer workshops, lunch and learns, training, assessments and coaching. There is plenty to choose from to meet your exact needs and budget.

Finally, there’s tertiary interventions, which deal with the impact of stress and will help rehabilitation. More reactive but necessary nonetheless to aid recovery. Whether it is 1-2-1 coaching, or perhaps physical therapy – we can bring it to your workplace.

In summary…

There are MANY benefits to employers of reducing stress at work.

  • Making staff healthier and happier at work
  • Improving performance and making staff more productive
  • Lower absence levels
  • Reducing workplace disputes
  • Making the organisation more attractive to job seekers and to retaining staff

In the Tonic Toolbox we have lots of tried and tested interventions to help you to achieve these benefits. Visit our website for information on our stress management courses. CLICK HERE

Also, see our fab FREE handout “10 Easy to follow Stress Busters” to share with your employees, colleagues & managers, to help raise awareness and create a less stressful workplace starting today!

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