Page 16 - HOT NEWS NOV 2014
P. 16
NatioNal StrESS awarENESS DaY
Stress is a physical and psychological response to a demand, a threat, or some kind of problem that requires a solution. It stimulates you and increases your level of awareness. The body's reaction to stress is called the "fight or flight" response. These responses occur whether the stress is positive or negative in nature. (source:
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines stress as: “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed upon them.”
Stress in itself is not an illness. It is a response or reaction to excessive or prolonged pressure or challenges. These pressures may come from many differing sources and when their combined effect seems overwhelming, stress can occur.
Seek counselling
• Plan regular health check-ups and review stress-related issues with your doctor.
• Maintain a healthy mind through regular counselling. It is a myth that you can only seek counselling if you have experienced something traumatic or negatively life-changing. People often seek counselling purely for self-development reasons, or simply for an environment in which they can talk to someone in a confidential and safe environment without being judged.
Prioritise workload
• Prioritise work activities. It is important to take time to listen to your body and understand
what causes your feelings of stress. If you think you are experiencing harmful levels of stress, tune into your warning signs. Think about how you feel, how it changes your behaviour and how it affects other people.
Stress can influence the way we feel, both physically and emotionally and in terms of our behaviour. It may sometimes lead us to make unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking and drinking more than usual, eating unhealthy foods and spending time isolated and alone in front of the TV. All of these behaviours increase the risk of developing physical illnesses.
There are healthy ways we can cope with stress however that will help protect our physical and mental health. Here are some tips for healthy ways to cope with stress:
Maintain your health
• Eat well, exercise regularly and ensure you get enough sleep.
• Expertsrecommendbreaksevery90to120minutes,tostretch
and move around if we are seated for long periods of time.
• Practice relaxation methods such as yoga, meditation, listening to music or reading.
• Identify and eliminate low-value work or repeated tasks. Engage with others to redesign processes and communications to be more efficient.
• Try to be proactive, rather than reactive.
work within your circle of influence,
on those things that you can control
• Express appreciation of others; positive attitudes can be infectious!
• When you are feeling low, energise yourself by talking to a friend, listening to music or exercising.
• Set a schedule that works for your work: distractions and multitasking are draining.
For support and/or advice regarding any mental ill health issues, please contact either the Occupational Health Department or Optum the Employee Assistance Programme.

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