April is Stress Awareness Month. In this final post, we’re going to look at easy ways to manage your stress and help others too. Work-related stress and mental illness accounts for over half of work absences – and costs British businesses an estimated £45 billion every year in 2020 according to Deloitte. On top of that studies have revealed that 460,000 people transition from work to sickness and disability benefits a year, which costs employers £9 billion a year. It’s a problem!
Stress is a term that is thrown around a great deal and can feel quite vague. Part of the challenge of stress is that although everyone can feel it and we all have similar reactions to it, what triggers each person and the levels that we can cope with vary enormously. This can leave a stressed person to feel very isolated and alone.
Through 3 posts this month I’m tackling the issue of stress for those in a transition phase of their career – either starting a new career or moving up to a new level within their career.
This is the final post. The others are:
- Show It Who’s Boss!
Stress doesn’t control you, the power is with you to remove/improve it. Try to take a step back from the situation you’re in and look at how you could change something. You have complete control over your own emotional state. Although it can feel like situations control us, it’s actually our own reaction to the situation which is causing our stress levels to rise. The fact that everyone reacts differently to situations shows us that we could do things differently if we tried.
- Don’t Underestimate ‘Perspective’.
We are often our own worst enemy; convincing ourselves of a certain truth or running the same argument around in our heads with no solution.
Perspective can come from changing your environment – getting out into nature is my ‘go-to’ every time for this (there’s lots of scientific evidence for why this nature is such a good stress reliever, ask me if you’d like to know more), talking your situation through with someone, writing it all down in some form, physically changing your state either through meditation or exercise – anything that gets you some distance from what’s going on so that you can re-look at it with fresh eyes.
- People Understand
People at work understand that you are new to your role. You have a grace period which is longer than you probably think when you start a new role.
Instead of worrying about how long you’ve got or if you should be ‘there’ yet, focus instead on using your ‘new’ status to your advantage – ask all the questions, request meetings with people at all levels, make lots of suggestions and gauge responses and generally explore all angles and opportunities.
- Focus on What You CAN Do.
There is plenty on the list of what you can do, it’s why you have the job. So if the new stuff seems too overwhelming and is triggering major stress in you, just go back to something you can do and do that well.
Give it all your attention. Your brain will be busy absorbing and processing all the new information while you get stuck into an easier task and it may just surprise you when you finish that the new stuff feels a little easier.
- Even Small steps Take You Forward
Stress can easily force you into complete full stop, indecision and overwhelm making any decision or action feel impossible and the wrong one.
Just find one thing, one small action or decision and focus on doing that.
Everything you do, no matter how small, will change the situation and move you forwards, unsticking you and helping you get that perspective.
- Ask For Help
There are loads of people who can help. In just about every situation there is someone who can answer your question, give you the information or provide a listening ear and an opinion.
There are the obvious people at work and in your personal life but don’t forget the wider world too – go to social media, professional networks and your more remote contacts.
You can get the most wonderful, heartfelt support from the most unlikely sources sometimes, just ask!