Since 1992, Stress Awareness Month has drawn attention to the ever-encroaching shadow that is stress; a shadow that increasingly looms over our modern lives and one that must be managed. Stress can accumulate until it has negative effects on both our mental and physical health. With this in mind, the C8 team shares our top tips for managing and beating stress.
Paula Elliott, Managing Director
Everyone deals with stress in different ways but for me, being in a vocation that is very desk- or office-bound, I like to get active – particularly if I’m stressed as this helps me to unwind.
Usually this involves me either going for a walk, alone or with my dogs, going for a run or going to the gym. Another way that I transport my thinking to another place is by going to the cinema. Even though we can stream most movies these days, a trip out, a bag of popcorn and two or three hours of uninterruptable escapism certainly helps take my mind off any issues. It also helps to put a bit more perspective around any problems I have been worrying about. After all, I haven’t been kidnapped, murdered, or caught up in a tornado, I’ve just delayed a deadline by a few hours! Or not got as far through my priority list as I had anticipated.
But as the MD of a very busy tech PR agency, mother of two teenage daughters, wife, and pet owner, finding the time isn’t always easy. So, my advice is to mark out time, and make it a priority. Most urgent jobs can wait or aren’t quite as time-critical as you believe them to be. Sometimes we are guilty of putting false deadlines on tasks that don’t have to be completed at super human speed.
Making sure you get that work-life balance is essential to playing the long game. We are at work for many years and if you don’t take time out to relax, re-calibrate and gain perspective, you will end up burning yourself out. So, enjoy some downtime and don’t guilt trip yourself into thinking you should be working or doing something more productive. We all deserve a bit of R&R from time to time.
Jim Pople, PR Director
Much of my stress stems from trying to do too much at once and becoming overwhelmed. As a result, I like to get up and take a walk, even just a short one, and then return to my desk, subsequently listing my priorities. I always find that writing something down gives me clarity on what needs to be completed, and its importance.
I’ve also come to the realisation that everything cannot be done all at once, and that work/life boundaries are important. Thankfully, the journey home normally gives me the chance to get back into ‘home mode’ and leave any other tasks for the following day.
Helen Hopper, Associate Copywriting Manager
My first tip is to spot the micro-stressors in your day and work to eliminate them. It takes a bit of planning, but it’s worth it. Maybe you keep missing lunch because you don’t have time to pop out to a café or local shop. Then you spend the afternoon lacking concentration because you are hungry, making you less effective. Try buying easy lunch options at the weekend and bringing them in each day so that, even if you don’t get out, you have at least managed to eat something
Or perhaps you are rushing from meeting to meeting with no time to consolidate your notes so that when you do get to them they are hard to decipher. Try scheduling slightly shorter meetings with a few minutes’ break between – it’ll make you more productive in the long run. By controlling the controllables and spotting the micro-stressors that are disrupting your flow, you can ensure you are in a better position for when external stress inevitably strikes.
My second tip is to share when you are stressed. If you are introverted, you may be more comfortable absorbing everything that comes your way until you reach breaking point. However, that doesn’t help you or your colleagues. You need to get comfortable with sharing feelings of stress with your managers and colleagues – that’s the only way they can know to do something to help! A supportive workplace culture – like at C8 – recognises when pressure has tipped from helpful to unhelpful and is ready to respond.
Megan Mackintosh, Senior PR Executive
Recently, I’ve started tracking good habits that I know make my days more fulfilling.
The trick is not to put too much pressure on yourself: I set small daily goals like walking 6,000 steps, doing 10 minutes of Duolingo, eating breakfast before I leave for work (rather than on the go or at my desk), and packing a healthy lunch for office days. The stakes for each small habit are low, making it an easy goal on busy days and allowing me the endorphin hit of achieving all my targets whenever I get the chance!
Even when I’m at my busiest and can only achieve 1 or 2 of these in a day, sitting down at night to track my habits is a reminder to make a conscious effort to do things for myself and my wellbeing. Better yet, it builds long-lasting healthy habits – something I’m usually very bad at doing. I’m now 3 months in and a lot of the things in my list have become second nature. I would recommend it to anyone!
Ameesha Patel, Senior PR Executive
When I’m most stressed, I look towards tools to help guide me through; I like to use the Headspace or Calm app to listen to mindful guided meditations. I also take time out of my day to do some unconscious journaling, which is essentially a brain dump of thoughts whilst surrounded by an oil diffuser, crystals, and music to help me relax.
I think being surrounded by positive people can genuinely help your mindset. Taking part in fun activities such as walks in National Trust properties, puppy yoga, dancing or playing video games helps bring those serotonin levels up! A sound bath is next on my bucket list!
For more information about how C8 Consulting can help to create compelling campaigns and kick-start conversations for your business, or to understand more about the social and digital activities that we are undertaking for our clients please feel free to contact us.