Forget backaches, toothache, injuries, the common cold, or even general illnesses. The number one reason employees miss days off work is now due to stress.
In the UK alone, the number of days lost due to stressed out employees is estimated to be more than 105 million (source: the Health & Safety Executive). That’s at a cost to employers of £1.24 billion.
Next week however is when employees can fight back. On 6 November, it’s UK National Stress Awareness Day, when employees up and down the country will be trying out ways to reduce stress.
You can do it in your workplace too. Employee wellness company, Tonic, has marked the event by giving CareerAddict its top five tips all staff can follow for reducing their stress at work:
1) Stress is not the enemy
Managing stress does not necessarily mean eliminating stress from your life. The key to successful stress management is to know how far you are able to move out of your comfort zone, and how often you are willing to do this. Provided you anticipate and manage periods of high demand, and balancethese with appropriate periods of review and recovery, you'll be in control of your commitments.
2) Managing stress levels with healthy eating
Each day, aim to consume more foods that calm you than those which can aggravate stress. Oily fish, chicken, turkey, whole-grains, berries and nuts, will all help keep you calm. Caffeine, sugar, chocolate, pastries, and refined carbohydrates won’t.
3) Get a great night of rest and recovery
To be at your most resilient, you need to rest and recover well at night, but in very busy periods people can find it difficult to relax and unwind and sleep well. Research what works for you, but definitely don’t be tempted to work right up to the moment you drop off.
4) Balance your life and set some boundaries
Stress can be caused by too much work (or too much of anything in life) leaving you feeling that the balance isn't where you'd like it to be. You'll find it harder to maintain balance in your routine if you're not clear what good balance looks like, so be diligent in planning and making time for the things you enjoy and that nourish your overall success.
5) Be a stress-reducing role model
Where you can, aim to reduce stress for others. Simple actions can make a huge difference, so look to see where you can support your colleagues and they will look out for opportunities to return the favour. Consider how you might avoid adding any stress to colleagues today – this is easily achieved by thinking about how you communicate. Aim to be focused with your emails, conversations and meetings so that you always help others to move projects steadily forward. Communicate messages that save colleagues time, rather than costing them time.
But there's one universal advice that's also worth remembering. Stress only reduces when everyone is singing from the same sheet. So, if you do nothing else, make sure you not only take these suggestions on board yourself, but you also share it amongst your colleagues too.