Mental health and wellbeing is a challenge for businesses across the island. In a recent online poll conducted by YouGov, 74% of people surveyed (4,619 respondents) felt ‘overwhelmed or unable to cope’ in the past year, but what is stress and how does this affect us?
Stress is a natural human response and something that can be helpful to us. At times it can also do some very real damage to both our physical and mental health. The stress response is hard-wired in us all as human beings, and through history has enabled us to survive and flourish as a species. As we moved from early human history into modern day the very responses that allowed us to flee from or fight our way out of danger, have remained with us. The lives we lead today are less about managing life-threatening dangers and more about navigating the world of work, relationships, money and all the other trials that face us in the 21st century.
A whole range of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, can result from chronic stress. Alongside the physical health problems that include stomach ulcers and even heart conditions that have been linked to stress, this paints a gloomy picture. However, we can take control of our stress and manage our responses by adopting habits that can prevent our stress levels from becoming harmful. We can protect ourselves from the resulting physical and mental health problems by setting some goals and putting a plan into action. Here we suggest six ways that we can manage our stress effectively:
Identify the causes of your stress. By identifying aspects of our lives that lead to a build-up of stress, we can find ways to minimise the impact and take back some control. Whether it is financial worries, a difficult relationship or a tricky time at work, look at what you can change about that situation.
Take some exercise. The benefits to our physical health are well known, but exercise is also hugely beneficial to our mental wellbeing. Walking, swimming and cycling are fantastic ways to boost our wellbeing. Getting back into or starting any exercise or sport that interests you can bring great health benefits, help you to feel better about yourself, feel more confident and reduce your stress levels.
Look after your diet. Stressful periods in your life might result in overeating or skipping meals or reaching for foods and drinks that will give you an instant boost. Keep an eye on what you are eating and how often and make some adjustments.
Get involved with something social. Join a group, go out with friends, spend time with your family and get connected.
Do something that makes you feel joyful such as spending time on creative activities, art, music, crafting, gardening, games, sharing a joke, reading a book.
Talk to someone. Sharing our worries or concerns with a trusted friend, partner or colleague can often be enough to help, but there are times when we might need professional help. There are lots or government services, charities and organisations on the Isle of Man who can help.
Mental health awareness training is a key part of our wish to remove the stigma surrounding mental health and empowering employers and their workforce to feel emotionally and effectively supported with their wellbeing.
Our next full day Wellbeing First Aid course is coming up on 1st December so BOOK NOW.