Stress has become a common feature in modern-day life, with many people experiencing it in the workplace. According to the Mental Health Foundation, almost three-quarters of adults (74%) have felt so stressed over the past year that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
Stress affects people’s physical and mental health and can lead to negative outcomes if not managed properly. In recognition of the impact of stress, April is designated as National Stress Awareness Month. You’ll no doubt see lots of organisations get involved and sharing the effects of stress and why it needs to be properly addressed both in the workplace and at home.
We’ll discuss the effects of stress, ways to combat it, and why National Stress Awareness Month is so important…
Effects of Stress
Stress can affect people’s health, relationships, and performance at work. When people experience stress, their bodies go into a “fight or flight” mode. This means the body releases hormones that prepare them to either fight or flee. This reaction is useful in dangerous situations, but when under constant stress, it can lead to various health problems. These include heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Stress can also affect people’s mental health, leading to anxiety and depression. In the workplace, stress can lead to burnout, decreased productivity, and increased absenteeism. Furthermore, stress can strain relationships, causing people to become irritable and short-tempered, leading to conflict with family, friends, and colleagues.
Ways to Combat Stress
There are several ways to combat stress, including:
Physical activity improves your body’s ability to use oxygen as well improving blood flow around the body. Both of these changes have a direct positive impact on your brain. Exercise also increases endorphins and the brain’s production of them. Endorphins are the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters. These are what the body produces when runners experience the infamous ‘runner’s high’. When you exercise, that sense of positivity and accomplishment is actually your brain producing endorphins.
Mindfulness meditation and breathing exercises can help people reduce stress levels and improve their overall well-being. According to the American Psychological Assosication, researchers reviewed more than 200 studies of mindfulness among healthy people and found mindfulness-based therapy was especially effective for reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness can also help treat people with specific problems including depression, pain, smoking and addiction.
Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can cause stress and anxiety, making it essential to get enough sleep to help manage stress levels. According to PHE, more than four in 10 (41%) Brits are experiencing more sleep problems than usual. Over half of 16-29-year olds (52%) are most likely to be affected. Among those experiencing low mood more than usual, 77% reported more sleep problems during the pandemic, with 67% of those experiencing stress more than usual and 66% of those with anxiety.
Setting boundaries at work and in personal life can help manage stress levels by preventing people from becoming overwhelmed. Setting boundaries is important for reducing stress because it helps us establish clear expectations and limits for ourselves and others. Boundaries are a way of communicating what we need, what we are willing to accept, and what we are not willing to tolerate. By setting and enforcing healthy boundaries, we can reduce the amount of stress and conflict in our lives.
Seek Professional Help
For severe stress, seeking professional help from a therapist or counsellor can be helpful. Often, by reaching out for professional clinical support, people can work through their problems in a coherent, beneficial, and structured way. One of the ways this is done in the NHS is through CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). CBT is based on the concept that thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a negative cycle. CBT aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts.
Share Coping Mechanisms & Talk About It
It may seem cliché but sharing your thoughts and coping mechanisms on stress can be so rewarding and impactful. By telling someone a coping mechanism which has worked for you, it could benefit the person involved. Likewise, by just talking to people about your experiences with stress or anxiety, the stigma behind mental health and stress can be reduced. This can lead to having a significant impact on the stress epidemic.
Importance of National Stress Awareness Month
Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992 to raise awareness of the causes and cures for our modern-day stress epidemic. Stress Awareness Month is important because it helps raise awareness of the impact of stress on people’s lives. It encourages people to prioritise their mental health, seek help when needed, and make lifestyle changes to manage stress levels. The month-long campaign provides resources and information to help people recognize the signs of stress and learn ways to manage it effectively.
Furthermore, National Stress Awareness Month helps employers recognise the importance of creating a stress-free workplace. Employers can use the month to educate employees on the signs of stress, provide resources to help manage it, and create a supportive workplace culture that promotes well-being.
At Nordens, we understand the importance of reducing stress levels in the workplace. We offer tailored accounting services designed to alleviate the stress of financial management, allowing business owners to focus on their core operations. By partnering with Nordens, businesses can streamline their financial management, reduce stress, and improve productivity. Sharon Brooks, Nordens’ Head of HR, explains, “stress can impact employee’s physical and mental health as well as affecting their behaviour, performance, and relationships with colleagues. Employers should address stress management proactively by focusing efforts on early intervention and prevention. Stress Awareness Month aims to raise awareness and provides employers with the education and support to promote positive wellbeing.”
In conclusion, stress is a prevalent issue in modern-day life, affecting people’s physical and mental health and their relationships. Combatting stress requires a proactive approach, including exercise, mindfulness, sleep, setting boundaries, and seeking professional help. National Stress Awareness Month is an essential campaign that raises awareness of stress and provides resources and information to help people manage it effectively.
We hope this has outlined to you the effects of stress and ways to combat it. If you’d like to know any further information on anything mentioned, or anything accounting related for that matter, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us at Nordens, where one of our trusted advisors would be happy talking you through your query.