“Help! I used to love my job but now I feel so fraught at work, and stressed out when I even think about it. How can I and my team beat…
Eve Menezes Cunningham
“Help! I used to love my job but now I feel so fraught at work, and stressed out when I even think about it. How can I and my team beat workplace stress?”
Some stress – eustress (‘good stress’) – can be exhilarating, helping us grow, develop and thrive. Unfortunately, too much stress becomes distress and impacts not only our wellbeing but our ability to make good decisions and to concentrate.
Try to identify your stress triggers, such as dealing with particular types of tasks or with specific people. Can you alleviate these specific stresses? Do you need to have a conversation about workload expectations? Do you perhaps need to set better boundaries?
Now ask yourself: What does stress feel like to you? Do you feel it in your chest? As a headache? Nausea? By paying closer attention, you’ll likely notice your stress signals sooner and be better able to manage things by taking yourself for a quick walk around the block, bringing your attention to your breathing and identifying other ways to take better care of yourself. If you can, analyse the workplace. Is there space for a quiet area people can just sit and breathe? It may seem self-indulgent, but when you think of all the time and money lost due to stress-related work absences, it’s worth experimenting with.
Activity is wonderful for getting us back into our bodies and allowing our system to do what we crave in fight or flight mode – run or work out. Can you run up and down a flight of stairs a few times? Try holding the yoga chair pose for a few minutes (minimal space is required and you’ll be working your whole system, not to mention burning off those stress hormones). Consider encouraging colleagues to have quick breaks and shoot a few hoops (remember Clooney and co on ER?). For lunchtimes, early mornings and evenings, you might consider something like yoga – many instructors visit workplaces so your whole team might benefit from a weekly class.
When we let ourselves listen, we know exactly what our bodies, minds and souls need us to do. Worrying about how things will look disempowers us. Encourage your whole team to take better care of themselves – you might even transform your entire workplace.
Find out more about Eve Menezes Cunningham’s counselling, coaching, yoga therapy and other services at the Feel Better Everyday Consultancy, feelbettereveryday.co.uk
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