In Part 2, I looked at factors that can cause stress in the workplace. Now, I am going to focus on some stress busting techniques in the workplace. I have written about stress and work life balance before. But here are some reminders and some new tips that are aimed at keeping the stress levels as low as possible.
In Part 1, I explained our basic emotional needs and our innate resources. I am now going to focus on major causes of workplace stress.
Firstly, it needs to be said that a bit of stress is good for us. Helpful stress is what stretches us; makes us strive and learn new things and feel exhilarated. Stretch normally happens when our needs are being met and our innate resources are being used and developed in a healthy way. It motivates us to perform at our best. But when that stress becomes overwhelming or constant and we never get the time to “rest and digest”, it becomes unhealthy and it can result in exhaustion or burnout. And the result of that is often mental and / or physical ill health.
In this first part of this series on Workplace Stress, I am going to explore the foundations of what we need in order to be emotionally and mentally healthy within the workplace. Over the next few blogs, I am going to show you how to recognise and prevent stress in the workplace.
All of us will feel anxious at some stage. It is normal. But when our feelings of anxiety start to impact on our mental health and wellbeing and inhibit us from living a happy and fulfilled life, we need to address them. Anxiety and its related mental health conditions like OCD and Burnout, are becoming more and more common. Our mental and physical wellbeing can be seriously affected by Anxiety and our response to it.
Shakespeare knew what he was talking about in Henry IV, Part 2! A good night’s sleep is essential to our physical and mental health and general wellbeing.
One of the first questions I always ask a client is: tell me about your sleeping routine. A disrupted sleeping pattern is usually a clear sign that the client is experiencing emotional difficulties. It is not always easy to determine which came first. But the link between poor or disrupted sleep and emotional and physical difficulties is very clear.
Young people like you all over the country are busy revising for their upcoming GCSE and A Level exams. Anxiety and stress levels for you and your parents are rising. In order to make the most of these exams, it is important to keep an eye on your mental health and wellbeing. The next in the exam season series is going to focus on keeping the anxiety and stress levels as low as possible.
And lastly in this series you can never have too much practice. If we can have success in a practice situation then our brain will store this as a ?win? and remember this good experience for next time. Our anxiety will go down and our confidence will go up. It?s called ?positive expectancy?
Recently, an article appeared in The Daily Mail in which it was claimed that because of the pressure of achieving top grades at GCSE or A Level, there are parents who are cancelling or postponing family holidays.
As a teacher and counsellor, I think this is a really bad idea. What would be much better is to continue with the planned holiday but to help the child use the break in a constructive way as time away from home is good for the entire family. But the basic rule is: Establish a routine.
How do we go about starting a ?real? conversation with someone we are attracted to or need to have a business relationship with when we struggle with anxiety and low self-confidence? Building relationships in our personal lives, or in business, relies on us being able to utilise the innate resource we have to build rapport. With the increase in social media to find a partner it seems we might have forgotten that we have this skill.
Social Life: You need one. You cannot spend all day alone. Making time for meaningful face to face interaction (not on a screen) with your close friends will give you much needed down time and a shift in focus. But having chats with your classmates also allows you to gain perspective. You might realise you do actually know that complicated bit of Physics or you don’t know it quite as well as you thought you did and you need to revisit it.
Firstly, it has to be said that there is no substitution for hard work. You cannot go into the exams if you are not prepared academically. But more about that at another time. This guide is aimed at what you can do to prepare yourself emotionally for the exam season.
Here are my top 5 tips that could help you minimise stress while at work.
1 Start and finish the day well
This could be as simple as ensuring you are not rushing out the door or running for your train. Children are always told: pack your school bag the night before. Well, we as adults should do the same. Preparation for tomorrow starts today. Get to be bed early enough that you get enough sleep. If you have a presentation tomorrow, pack what you need for it before going to bed. Check laptop is charged. Check your presentation is backed up. Pre-empt anything that could go wrong by preventing it before bedtime. And then on the journey, what can you do to relax? Read? Listen to some music?
A lot has been said lately about out work-life balance and its impact on our wellbeing. A recent study in New Zealand found a four day week led to lower stress levels and higher productivity. Let’s be blunt: this option (in the UK it would be called “part-time”) is not an option for most of us.
Here are some ideas if you feel that work is possibly taking over too much:
What are the tools of abuse?
Tools of abuse include:
1.Uncertainty – not just a result of psychological abuse it can be used as a tool to keep the victim in a permanent state of indecision, unable to take action. This can be a subtle way of removing someone’s sense of autonomy and control one of our essential emotional needs.
What is psychological abuse and coercive control?
Coercive control or controlling behaviour became an offence in December 2015.? According to the Home Office: Coercive or controlling behaviour does not relate to a single incident, it is a purposeful pattern of incidents that occur over time in order for one individual to exert power, control or coercion over another.
We have all had times when the world becomes a little much for us. Mine was in my 20s when a severe bout of depression hit me. Back in those days it was called a “nervous breakdown”. Luckily that term is not used as much anymore. A “major depressive episode” would have been for more appropriate. “Episode” suggests it will be fleeting and temporary rather than something that is physically broken. A course of antidepressants and lithium followed and ultimately a 6-month course of psychotherapy. Although painful at the time, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. By that point I was a teacher with a Psychology degree and a postgraduate qualification in Counselling. The irony did not pass me by. But what I learnt from it was invaluable. I was lucky that I ended up with a top quality therapist who helped me find my way through it.
A lot has been said recently about mobile phones and the classroom. Some of it useful. I am a teacher and a Human Givens therapist. I think I have an understanding of both the learning potential that a mobile can offer as well as its potential risks to the mental health and wellbeing of the child or adolescent. Yes, mobiles and everything that goes with them can be damaging to our mental health. Well, pollution is bad for our mental health. Does that mean we all have to escape the city and live in the countryside? The mobile phone is here to stay. Instead of trying to ban them from schools, we would be much wiser to engage with the teenagers’ model of reality and learn with them how we can use the mobile in a way that is productive.
In this blog, Hannah reveals her motivation for training as a Human Givens therapist.
In 2008 my husband Patrick died whilst we were on holiday in Italy. One day we were walking around a market in Calabria and the next day he was gone. As with any loss, I took time to adjust and the natural grieving process played itself out. However, at 42, husbandless, childless and with no real career path to speak of, I went into a decline. Extremely stressful events like losing a loved one, divorce, even moving home, can send us into a spin and although nerves don?t break down, mine felt as though they were. I couldn?t stop crying; I slept all day and all night and, if I wasn’t sleeping, I was watching endless TV, cutting myself off from friends and living on the sofa.
I recently saw a 10-year-old boy who was struggling with his parents’ breakup. He was living with his mother and younger brother and had regular contact with his father over Skype. On the surface he was coping quite well and school mentioned that he was showing signs of acceptance but what they had noticed were moments of anger outbursts and a drop in his academic performance.
Being a Human Givens practitioner means accepting the premise of the approach: we all have emotional needs. Here is my take on applying the relevant ones to the classroom.
Each pupil needs to feel safe in the classroom. As a teacher, I need to create an environment where it is safe to ask and answer a question. Too often pupils are scared to speak up out of the fear of being wrong. It is my responsibility to make it clear that it is safe to make mistakes. Getting things wrong is part of learning. Why is it wrong? How do I get to a more correct answer? Is there even a correct answer? Sometimes this might mean having to explore more of a Growth Mindset by reframing in the following way: You might not know the answer YET.