Stress is notoriously hard to manage, and the workplace can be rife with it. However minor or major, it can build up to have detrimental impacts on mental and physical wellbeing, in some cases leading to ‘burnout’. Stress Awareness Month, held every April since 1992, endeavours to raise awareness of the modern ‘stress epidemic’. Considering this, the C8 team relay their top tips for managing their stress.
Paula Elliott – Managing Director
To de-stress and unwind, I like to keep fit, which involves going to the gym or walking/running with my dogs.
It is so easy to avoid putting valuable time aside, or to feel that you must respond to an email or do something work-wise. Therefore, my advice is to mark time out each day for a walk, run or some form of exercise that gets you out of the house and focused on something else. “Me time” enables you to refuel, gain perspective and de-stress. All-consuming problems suddenly shrink in size and are less significant or worrisome than you previously thought. You can usually work around them once you have a greater perspective.
Also, if something is worrying or bothering you, write it down and get it all out, leave it and go back to it 24 hours later and read what you have written. Again, normally (well for me at least), it gives clarity on how to tackle the problem. It also allows you to vent and you feel better for it.
Jim Pople – PR Director
One way I manage my stress is to try and spend some time in another place – be it going for a walk, into the kitchen, or around Green Park. Another way is spending time with my family; removing yourself from the home office at the end of the day and shutting your laptop can put things into perspective.
And remember to take some deep breaths; it’s easy to say in hindsight, but the problem causing your stress isn’t likely to be the end of the world!
Kiri O’Leary – Account Manager
With many deadlines and competing priorities, it’s important to assess your workload each day, and determine what’s truly important and what’s urgent. Streamline your to-do list by focusing on those projects that are both of high importance and time critical, to ensure that you’re concentrating your efforts on the tasks that really matter. Having a clear plan of your day, and coming week, will also help to spread your workload and relieve some of the pressure we all feel when we’re overwhelmed with tasks.
It’s also vital to maintain a healthy work-life balance. No matter how much work you have on your plate, you should be disciplined and know when to switch off. We all need time in the evenings and weekends to refresh and distract ourselves from the day-to-day pressures of work. Spending time with loved ones and taking time for ourselves should be a high priority. Having a fulfilling life outside of a job enables us to present our best, most positive selves in the workplace.
Finally, when we’re feeling stressed and overworked, it’s easy to form bad habits and not look after ourselves properly. Relying on a high-sugar diet to keep fuelled and eating poorly will only stress your system more. In addition, when you’re not sleeping well, you’re not giving yourself the rejuvenation you need to perform at your very best. Building good habits around healthy eating and getting enough sleep will do wonders for your mood and energy.
Ameesha Patel – Account Executive
I like to use my lunchtime to take a walk around the beautiful green land that surrounds our office and use this time alone to think or to catchup with my colleagues outside of our daily ‘shop-talk’. I am also an enthusiastic fan of herbal teas, especially camomile, as it’s said to be a natural sedative.
Another fantastic way to help reduce stress and relieve tight muscles and tension headaches is to visit a chiropractor. I often go to the chiropractor to have adjustments that release tension and improve blood circulation.
I also enjoy the process of painting my nails, making an iced coffee, doing yoga, putting together a to-do list to make sure I’m organised for the day ahead. If you take time to make sure you are looking after yourself, whether that’s a yoga class or meditation or a walk round the park, the result is that you feel good, make better decisions and work more productively.
Megan Mackintosh – Account Executive
In my experience, small stresses can build up quite easily to surprise you a few days, weeks, or months later. Because of this, I try to make time in the evenings or at weekends to rest and reset properly, and spending time outdoors is a wonderful way to do this. This is especially possible in the summer, when the days are long enough to do a walk after work and it is much easier to spend an entire day outside, which is why it’s my favourite time of year! Walks are a great way to spend quality time with friends, feel good about a day of exercising, and to gain perspective on yourself and your troubles in a wider world.
Getting your peace from nature can take a bit of forward planning: ideally, I like to free up a whole day so that I can truly relax, but also, living in a busy town as I do, I either have to account for half an hour of walking to get to a green, open space, or book a train to a more rural area. Whenever I am travelling in and out of Reading, I try to seek out nearby train stops that look like a good place to walk – my current go-to is Virginia Waters, but I have my eye on Mortimer village for a walk across the fields!
Often, just knowing that I have given myself the space to take a day like this in the next few weeks can stop the build-up of stress and allows me to be more resilient to stresses in all aspects of my life. I recently took a few days annual leave for a family trip to the Lake District, a favourite of ours, and have come back to work feeling recalibrated and ready for a busy few months.
John Vignaux – Junior Account Executive
Take a break. Whenever I feel like I am getting a bit stressed or flustered, I step out of the office for a moment and make a cup of tea. It takes my mind off the work, gives me a small win, and brings me back down to reality.
Natalie Young – Junior Account Executive
Walking during lunchtime is a necessity for me. I love being outside and going for a walk, especially in the sun. It is the perfect distraction from a busy day. I often run after work and having direct access to a beautiful park adjacent to the river, I find this the perfect wind-down before my evening. Otherwise, I enjoy chatting with my sister on the phone during my walk home and find it helps me to talk and laugh through any stresses throughout the day and puts them into perspective.
Journaling has been important in helping me understand the route of my stress and acknowledging everything you are grateful for in life is a wonderful way to remember what is important to you. It can be as simple as writing down a few bullet points but can make all the difference.
Liam Hodgson – Account Executive
Personally, I manage my stress depending on the level that I am feeling. One way that I handle stress is to take five minutes to myself and either have a nice cup of tea or get some fresh air to briefly step away from the problem.
I also like to listen to music which can be a great distraction and I especially like to talk. I am a strong believer in the adage – “a problem shared, is a problem halved”!