Stress – It’s one of the leading causes of working days lost in the UK, and work-related burnout was also recently recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a legitimate medical diagnosis. So why do we continue to tolerate stress in our jobs?
Stress has played a big part in my professional life. A few years ago, I ran a rather successful events company. So successful in fact, that we were working on an international scale from our first year. But the pressure and responsibility that came with this success became intolerable; I started suffering from episodes of burnout, which then evolved into panic attacks.
Years after my recovery, I’ve now made it my mission in life to support entrepreneurs and impactful business teams in managing their stress alongside their business feats. My organisation, Calmer, provides a whole host of support, from free e-courses through to co-working space partnerships. We work to prevent stressful situations from arising, by creating nurturing office cultures that promote conversations around mental health.
From my experience working with entrepreneurs and freelancers through to SME (small to medium enterprise) teams and large corporates, I can share you these four stress-busting strategies you can easily implement in your line of work:
When you’re feeling stressed: start talking about mental health
If you’re looking to create a mentally healthy culture in your workplace, one of the easiest steps to take is to start talking about mental health.
The first step is to recognise how you feel, and when you’re ready, communicate with others. It can be something as simple as saying you feel frustrated with a held-up project, or sad about a missed opportunity.
With every conversation, you will break down the stigma around mental health a bit more. If this is difficult to implement within your workplace, you may wish to address your workplace culture through training.
When you’re feeling tired: go home
Here in the UK, we have an unhealthy obsession with workaholism, yet studies show that the more hours we work, the less productive we are. Where possible, head home when your official work day is over. You’ll find those last tasks you were wrestling with the day before become a breeze the next day.
And if you’re a manager or a team lead, consider working your team smarter, not harder. Invite them to highlight their most productive working hours (some people are early birds, while others prefer late nights), and see how you can best organise your team to be their most productive.
When things get heated: take a tea break
Stress-inducing situations can often escalate quickly, so when you find yourself with rising blood pressure, take a step away. Politely ask a client to wait, reschedule a call, or take a moment out of a meeting. You will save face, and the practice of a familiar task such as making a cup of tea will quickly return you to a better headspace.
When burnout is imminent: join ‘The Reignite Project’
If you can sense a period of high-stress looming, sign up to The Reignite Project. This is a free 10-week course created by Calmer, with the aim of supporting 600,000 professionals in preventing burnout.
If you work alone, as a freelancer or a business owner, you can follow the entrepreneur course, and if you’re in a team environment, invite everyone to take the business teams course. We hope to support you in nurturing a happy mind and a happy business.