Stress in the workplace

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Stress in the workplace

This is a guest submission from Shepherds Friendly Society - who offer income protection plans  to prepare for your future.

 https://www.shepherdsfriendly.co.uk/plans/protection/income-protection

Stress in the workplace is topic that needs to be considered and discussed openly. Awareness of stress in the workplace needs to be raised so that individuals know what causes it, what the symptoms are and if they do suffer with stress at work, ways in which they can deal with it.

According to research by Trade Union Congress, someone is made ill by stress at work every two minutes.

CV-Library.co.uk found that:

•     53.2% of workers report that stress is an issue in their current workplace.

•     61.9% believe that their employer looks down on workers who get stressed.

•     57.4% think that their manager does NOT offer support to help them manage stress at work.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) claimed that in 2015/16, 488,000 people in the UK reported work-related stress at a level they believed was making them unwell. This accounted for 37% of all work related illnesses.

It is evident that workplace stress is something that needs to be tackled across the country.

First, we need to address what the most common causes are of workplace stress . The main causes include heavy workloads, long working hours, and low morale within the workplace, unfriendly colleagues and bad management.

What can you do if you are suffering from stress in the workplace?

Start by reaching out. Talk to your manager face-to-face about any worries you have. It is more personal than sending your worries over by email and makes it easier to convey your emotion.

Look for support at home. Talking it over and getting support and sympathy to those that are closest to you can help you to regain your sense of calm.

Review your diet. Your food choices can have a huge impact on how you feel during the work day. Keep your energy and focus up, and avoid mood swings by choosing healthy meal options.

Get active. Try to add more exercise into your working day. Physical activity produces endorphins that acts as a natural painkiller and also improves the ability to sleep. Better sleep will help you to be more patient and feel less agitated which can reduce stress.

Prioritise and organise. If you findyour workload is getting too much. Try the following: create a balanced schedule, leave earlier in the morning, avoid over-committing yourself and always tackle high-priority tasks first.

Have a positive attitude. Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health. Practice positive self talk and surround yourself with positive people.

Find out more about stress at work; the Symptoms, causes and how to beat it here.

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The shocking truth behind our blue light services

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The shocking truth behind our blue light services

The ‘blue light’ services are typically our emergency services. This includes ambulance workers, police, firefighters and search and rescue services. According to research conducted by ‘Mind’, emergency services are at a higher risk of going through a mental health problem than the general public. Most would think that this is due to the traumatic events that people in this field may experience. This is not always the case. It is suggested that workload and pressures from management tend to trigger poor mental health over trauma. With 9 out of 10 emergency service staff and volunteers in England had experienced stress, low mood or poor mental health at some point in their careers, it is crucial that something is done about this.

Those in the blue light services are the people who help us when we are in need, the people who save lives. It is upsetting to think they may sometimes find it difficult to save their own. For example, 30% of firefighters had contemplated taking their own lives due to stress and poor mental health whilst working for the fire services. So what exactly is being done about this? Obviously, there is support that each employer would offer yet 79% of respondents from a conducted survey said they would ‘never’ seek help from HR if they experienced a mental health problem. Alternatively, those within the emergency services suggest that the support given following a traumatic event is positive however there is little additional support provided for the ‘drip drip’ effect. In fact, 82% of firefighters agreed or strongly agreed that there needs to be more emotional support made available to emergency services personnel

Just less than half of the blue light services that were surveyed (44%) thought their colleagues would be treated differently (in a negative way) if they said that they had a mental health problem at work. This just shows the large amounts of stigma or expected stigma within this field of work. This is surprising given that those in the emergency services would have seen a lot, gained more empathy and have a better understanding of what can happen within day-to-day life. Talking about mental health is not overly encouraged within the emergency service sector with 71% of emergency service staff thinking that their organisation did not encourage them to talk about mental health – this was much worse than the general workforce population.  

According to research conducted by ‘Mind’, the research suggests that the following factors are triggers of poor mental health for people in the ambulance service: 

  • Repeated exposure to traumatic events

  • High workload pressures

  • Long working hours

  • Lone working shift work

  • Dealing with people who may be physically or verbally abusive

So whilst measures are being taken to improve the support those in the blue light sector receive regarding mental health, is there anything individuals can do to ensure their family member or friend within the service is remaining relatively healthy in terms of mental health? Obviously, stress is part of the job, yet being overly stressed is going to impact not only mental health but also ability to complete tasks to a high standard. Which in this case, is quite literally a matter of life and death!

Help your loved ones come to terms with whether they are stressed more than usual. Most of the time, people won’t notice that they are displaying signs of stress and so it is difficult to identify yourself that you are going through more stress than is healthy. Some signs to look out for include trouble sleeping, irritability, drinking more than usual, participating in drug-use, physical pain and anxiety. If somebody you know is displaying symptoms of stress, speak to them without judgement and ask if there is any way that you can help.

Encourage them to look after their body and physical health. It is common that by looking after our physical body, we are looking after our minds. Encourage a balanced diet, 8 hours of sleep, plenty of water and exercise. Suggest doing some fun, physical activities together such as hiking or doing the gardening.

Listen to how they are feeling. Just by showing that you are there and ready to listen can allow somebody to express themselves, getting the negative feelings out and in turn, allow a weight to be lifted.

Help them identify their triggers and practise relaxation techniques. Ask your loved one about their day and if they become more hostile or closed off speaking about a certain event or issue, this is most likely the trigger for their stress and should be prevented if possible. It is a good idea for them to keep a journal of anything that has stressed them out during the day to find ways around allowing this to become a reoccurring thing. If your loved one is particularly stressed, it is essential for them to relax during the time they are home. There are numerous relaxation techniques, most being guided through web-based applications which are extremely beneficial.

Look after yourself. If you are constantly surrounded by somebody with poor mental well-being, it is likely that you will begin to feel relatively negative. Ensure you are staying healthy so you can continue to provide support and care if needed. Being calm, relaxed and positive can often allow others to pick this up.

 

Feel Stress Free offers a range of guided activities, using clinically proven techniques, to help prevent and build resilience to common mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety and mild depression. Feel Stress Free was created and developed by UK leading psychologists and psychiatrists. If you are or know somebody who is currently struggling due to working in the emergency services, please get in touch through our social media - @thriveappsuk, for a free month trial.  

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Yesterday was armed forces day #SaluteOurForces

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Yesterday was armed forces day #SaluteOurForces

Yesterday was Armed forces day. The 24th June is a day to show support for those in the armed forces. This is not just for those who fight for our freedom. It is for every single person who plays, or has played a part in defending the country. There were many events that took place to support the troops, veterans and cadets. There were a number of ways to get involved, from attending national events to holding your own in your local town. Armed forces day began on the 19th June, when the flag was raised around country. Reserves day was also be celebrated on the 21st June.

Those in the armed forces work endlessly to protect us all. It is only fair that we show our appreciation for them. As well as army, navy and air force personnel, armed forces day is also to recognise and support reservists.

Reservists give up their spare time to support the defense of the country. They balance their civilian life with military life. This means that if required, they will give up their civilian life and be part of the military. The reserve forces are roughly one sixth of the armed forces and they can offer more specialised support functions such as medical or cyber. According to armedforcesday.org, reservists are currently supporting operations worldwide including in Afghanistan, Northern Iraq, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many reserved forces go without recognition and are often taken for granted. This armed forces day please thank all of those that turn up to work in their uniforms.

This year, the key theme was #SaluteOurForces. It was a way to thank the armed forces for all of their hardy  work and dedication to helping keep civilians safe. If you haven't yet, join in! Simply tweet or post a picture of yourself as if you are saluting, including the hashtag #saluteourforces.

Dedicating your life to the protection of others and being away from friends and family can be stressful. To thank all of those in the armed forces, the veterans and the reservists - we are offering one month free of ‘Feel Stree Free’. Our guided relaxation app, ‘Feel Stress Free’, takes you through different activities to help manage and prevent symptoms linked with stress, anxiety and mild depression. The app is created and developed by leading UK psychologists and uses clinically proven techniques.

To download Feel Stress Free, visit: www.feelstress.com. If you are a member of the armed forces, a veteran or are family to somebody belonging to the armed forces, please get in touch for a free code! You can message us @thriveappsuk on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

For more info on Armed Forces Day: https://www.armedforcesday.org.uk/

 

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The truth about working in hospitality

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The truth about working in hospitality

Anybody who has worked in hospitality industry knows that it can get stressful. Rude customers, too many tasks to do at one time and long shifts that may wreck your social life. Only 7% of employees feel they can open up to their employer about their mental health. Ten percent of workers said they had a 'depressive episode' in the last year. In comparison 15% of women working in hospitality had one. This shows a huge increase of staff feeling bad in hospitality compared to other jobs.

A recent study has shown that over half of all workers in the food and drink industry have had treatment for their mental health. This is worrying given that one out of the two people who serve you has a mental health issue.  Even more worrying is the fact that less than half of those affected would tell anybody about their mental health. This includes family and friends.

Most employers are now realising the importance if supporting staff and prioritising their health. This should result in better working conditions. While your employer makes the necessary changes these are a few things you can do to remain calm:

  • Make the most of your days off.  See your friends and family, relax and use the day as a wellbeing day to do the things you enjoy!  Book a trip to the spa, read a book, catch up on the latest TV shows you’ve missed or go for a walk! Although it may be tempting, sleeping away the entire day is not going to be helpful to you in the long run. It will ruin your sleep cycle, making you feel groggy the rest of the day!

  • Make some lifestyle changes. Eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, sleeping 7-8 hours per night and exercising will all help and make you better at coping with work stress. Remember that physical health is closely linked with mental health The happier your body, the happier your mind! Caffeine, tobacco and alcohol can make you feel tired and irritable after a period of time.
  • Take a breather. If you feel as if things are getting to be too much or you are feeling overwhelmed, step outside for a moment and take a breath. Your mental health is more important than the dishes in the sink. If it is busy, ask a colleague to cover you for just a few moments. Practise deep breathing exercises, they are an easy and quick way of reducing stress. Take long, deep breaths using your belly, not your chest. If you are raising your shoulders you are doing it wrong.
  • Know your limits. Everybody has different limits, know yours and do not take on more work than you can cope with. It does not matter if you can’t keep up with everybody else on your team. If you are struggling with a certain task, ask a colleague to take over and do something you feel better doing. Not everybody can be perfect at everything! If you are finding it hard to keep up in general, speak to a trusted colleague or your manager about how you are feeling, they can support you or offer you further training.
  • Practise relaxation. There are different ways you can practise relaxation to help prevent the work stress in the first place. This can range from mindfulness to muscle relaxation. One guided relaxation app, ‘Feel Stress Free’, takes you through different activities to help manage and prevent symptoms linked with stress, anxiety and mild depression. The app is developed by leading UK psychologists and uses clinically proven techniques. To download Feel Stress Free, visit: www.feelstressfree.com

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