Knowledge Zone

5 tips to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing

Posted on in Lifestyle Advice

Did you know that over 15 million work days are lost every year in the UK due to employees suffering from work-related stress? Research from UK mental health charity, Mind, also found that work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives with one in three people (34 per cent) stating their work life was either very or quite stressful. Stress was found to be more stressful than debt or financial problems (30 percent). With these statistics in mind, we’ve collated our top 5 tips to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing in and outside of the workplace.

1. Don’t suffer from workplace stress in silence

If you are experiencing warning signs of work related stress, make sure to reach out to a trusted colleague, friend, or family member. 

Having a close and trustworthy support system at work is key to reducing work-related stress. The act of simply talking about your issues, frustrations, and stresses can lift your mood. Make sure you are also keeping an eye out for signs of stress in your fellow colleagues, as they too may be suffering from similar feelings. If you don’t have a close colleague to turn to, try to be more sociable during work hours as this can improve your mental wellbeing. Instead of reaching for your phone during breaks, push yourself to engage in conversation and be more sociable with your colleagues. 

If you have no one to turn to at work, lean on your friends and family members for support. If you find it difficult to discuss work issues with your colleagues, turning to your family and friends is a great alternative. This can often be an easier option as you don’t feel the need to filter the issues you are experiencing. Most people are happy to help their colleagues, friends, or family in a time of need, so don’t worry about reaching out.

 

2. Make the most of your work breaks

Whether you are office based or in a manual role, ensure you take full advantage of your work breaks by getting outside. If the weather allows, eat lunch outside or take a short walk to clear your mind. Going for a 15 minute walk has been proven to show higher levels of concentration and lower strain and stress levels during the afternoon hours. Research has found that walking “may assist employees in replenishing the resources needed to perform well on the job during the working day”. So, instead of scrolling through social media or skipping your lunch break, consider taking your break outside, getting some sunlight and see if it has a positive impact on your stress and wellbeing levels later in the day. 

 

3. Take time to plan and prioritise 

When workplace stress begins to overwhelm you, take back control by planning, prioritising, and being careful with your time. 

Plan your time wisely and create a balanced schedule to prevent burning out. Find a clear balance between your work and social life. Ensure you save time in your schedule for social activities, daily responsibilities, and solitary downtime. 

Prioritise important work tasks and your health on the same level by not over-committing yourself. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between what is necessary and what is optional. Push tasks that are not truly necessary or eliminate them entirely from your to-do list.

 

4. Make exercise and nutrition a part of your routine 

When experiencing stress in and outside of the workplace, it becomes easy to ignore your physical health by neglecting exercise and nutrition. Both of these things combined can benefit other areas of your life. When you’re prioritising your health through good nutrition choices and regular exercise, you become stronger and more resilient to outside stressors. You can start by implementing these small steps: 

  • Ensure you are eating a healthy and well balanced breakfast
  • Remove sugar-sweetened beverages from your diet
  • Find a form of exercise you enjoy and can stick to… this can be anything from walking and cycling to boxing or rock climbing!
  • Make small daily changes including taking the stairs, getting off public transport one stop early, or walking instead of driving for short commutes.

 

5. Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep 

The majority of people need 8 hours of sleep to function at best, however, a survey found that the average Briton gets only six hours and 19 minutes of sleep per night. Busy lives, heavy work schedules, and general stress were found as the primary reasons for not reaching 8 hours of sleep. If you experience sleep problems due to stress, try implementing healthy stress management techniques before bed. Try these techniques: 

  • Practise deep breathing or meditation
  • Read for 30 minutes
  • Mimic sundown by avoiding blue light before bed (e.g. TV, phone, tablets) and use an old-school alarm
  • Keep a notepad by your bed to jot down any thoughts to clear your mind.

Try implementing these tips into your work and personal schedule and see how your mental and physical health improves. Read more about health and wellbeing at PMP Recruitment here.

 

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