More and more companies are celebrating implementing Corporate Social Responsibility schemes, flexible working, work/life balance and unpaid leave policies yet, the numbers suffering from work–related stress illnesses are not going down?
A large 10-year study by the HSE – the ‘Labour Force Survey 2014/2015’- said the estimated number and rate of new cases had remained broadly flat for more than a decade now. It reports that stress is the second most commonly reported cause of occupational ill health in Great Britain, accounting for 37% of all work-related ill-health cases, and 45% of all working days lost.
Many are saying they cannot switch off from work or are feeling the effects of stress when dealing with co-workers, particularly in a climate of job instability, longer working hours, higher demands and increasing financial pressures. Perhaps in some sectors, the more modern approach by firms to their workforces has not filtered through or perhaps it is because with technology, such as smart phones, there’s no physical separation from work at home, particularly if you are now set up to work from home (the downside of flexible working, especially in the COVID-19 lockdown).
Whatever the reason, stress causes disruption to our personal lives, sleep (which replenishes our immune system) and in a few, depression.
Here are some tips to help avoid stress at work adversely affecting your health:-
- Establish a barrier between work and home life (ie: do not work at weekends or have a cut off time in the evening).
- Take regular breaks and always take a lunch break to stretch your legs and/or to eat something and/or to listen to some music.
- Chair yoga or simple exercises to stop muscles tensing or headaches developing.
- Eat fresh and well balanced meals, not packaged food (as these will leave you feeling lethargic).
- Do not have a TV or electronic equipment in the bedroom because it should be a peaceful sanctuary conducive for sleep and blue light actually stimulates our retinas having the opposite of the desired effect of becoming sleepy in bed.
- Go to bed on time wherever possible so your body is in a regular routine.
- Think positively, as often things do not turn out as you would fear (ie: trying to think of a solution or “park” a problem, rather than dwell upon the problem itself – “mind over matter”).
- Either learn to say no or talk about a work problem with colleagues or managers.
- Keep fit (“healthy body, healthy mind”)
- Drink more water/green tea and less caffeinated drinks (this will stop you feeling tired as you become more hydrated and the diuretic effects disrupting your sleep further)