April marks the start of Stress Awareness Month 2021, and the theme this year is ‘Regaining Connectivity, Certainty and Control’.
Stress Awareness Month raises awareness of stress and the way in which it is damaging the health of people across the globe. High levels of stress can be extremely detrimental to our mental health, often leading to anxiety and depression. Likewise, many people do not realise the impact stress can have on our physical health too. Heart disease, insomnia and digestive problems are just a few of the physical conditions that can be linked to high stress levels. As such, it's critical that we take the time during this national awareness month to look at how we can manage our stress levels.
12 months on from the first national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is said that 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope (Mental Health Foundation).
This could be due to a number of factors:
Worries around health and contracting COVID-19
Concerns over job stability
Lack of satisfaction in personal life due to social restrictions
Increased workload due to organisational changes
Below are 3 tips on how you can manage your work-related stress during Stress Awareness Month and beyond.
How to manage work-related stress
1. Communicate with your employer
People working from home may be experiencing a lack of connectivity with their employers when it comes to workloads and occupational wellbeing.
Despite how quickly many employers have adapted to remote working, your line manager may not be as aware of how well you’re coping with work-related stress. Whereas before it was easy to check in across the office, now it may not be the case.
It’s important that you are open and honest regarding your workload and how you are coping so your manager can help reduce any work-related stress. Likewise, if you have a problem you are struggling to overcome, use the technology provided to you (MS Teams, email, over the phone to name a few examples) to speak to the appropriate person(s) and not suffer in silence.
2. Keep work time and personal time separate
As we mentioned in our article ‘how to effectively work from home’, try not to extend your workday too far over what you planned, as this might lead to burning yourself out and starting to see your home environment as a stressful place. Keeping work time and personal time separate should make you less stressed when you aren’t working.
3. Take part in the 30 Day Challenge ‘Regaining Connectivity, Certainty and Control’
To help combat the effects of stress, the Stress Management Society have introduced a 30 day challenge: Pick one action each for your Physical, Mental and Emotional Wellbeing to carry out every day. It is said that is takes 30 days to turn an action into a habit. So the objective is at the end of April, any actions you have started during the challenge that are aiding your stress levels, you will easily be able to incorporate into your daily routine.
For more information on how to take part in the challenge, visit the Stress Management Society website here.