According to a survey by the Stress Management Society, 65% of the people they surveyed said they felt more stressed since the COVID restrictions began a year ago. And even though those restrictions are starting to ease, worry about mixing with others or returning to the office will undoubtedly be raising the stress levels in some of us.

Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. The key to reducing stress is thinking about and identifying what causing you stress, then taking positive stress to address those causes.

We all experience and react to stress in different ways. Here are some examples of how stress can affect how we:

Think

  • Memory problems
  • Poor judgement
  • Lack of concentration
  • Indecision
  • Self-doubt

Feel emotionally

  • Depression
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability
  • Cynicism
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling overwhelmed

Feel physically

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Frequent colds
  • Skin complaints
  • Indigestion
  • High blood pressure

Behave

  • Drinking more alcohol, smoking more
  • Isolating from others
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Loss of sense of humour

Watch: Reduce the impact of stress

Dr Sonya Wallbank shares helpful tips on reducing the impact of stress on teams, including recommendations for tools to have in place during difficult circumstances. Watch the video here.

Watch: The Stress Arc

Dr Sonya Wallbank shares ‘The Stress Arc’ tool to help teams and individuals identify where they find themselves and how they manoeuvre through the different zones within the Arc. Watch the video here.

Watch: Signs of Psychological Stress

Dr Sonya Wallbank shares some insight into the various presentations individuals may exhibit when they feel under pressure, along with some pointers to help teams overcome trying periods of stress. Watch the video here.

Watch: Practical advice from the team on different ways to reduce and manage stress

Watch: Can drinking more water lower your stress levels?

What if there were a really simple thing that could help relieve stress?

Take a break, grab a glass of water and join Kerry Pocock, Our Dorset Wellbeing Coach, to find out about the links between dehydration and stress.

Watch: Can nature help you be more productive?

We’re focusing on how nature helps us to release stress. Join us for a 20-minute break in your day and let nature de-stress you!

Five steps we can take to reduce our stress levels

Why not take some time out to reflect and consider at least one thing that you can do to reduce your own stress levels.

The Stress Management Society sets out some steps we can take to reduce our stress levels:

When we focus on negatives, rather than concentrating on the positives, we heighten the stress by adopting a negative mindset. So, if we can change the way that we perceive things, we can often lessen our stress levels. Read more about how to develop a positive attitude and eliminate negative thinking.

Have you ever done a digital detox? Read this piece and see if it rings any bells.

Feeling overwhelmed by an overflowing inbox? Here’s how to control email stress.

Whether you’ve had sleeping problems before COVID-19 or if they’ve only come on recently, there are concrete steps that you can take to improve your sleep. Take a look at our Sleeping better page.

Get up, get moving, enjoy a hobby – activity boosts mood. Our Be active page is jam-packed with ideas and suggestions to get you and your family moving and releasing those happy hormones!

If you’re feeling your stress levels rising, listen to this three-minute breathing space from the Mental Health Foundation. It’s a simple way to calm your mind and body down.

You can also work through a five-minute exercise with Kerry from our team, using your breath and your focus to connect with your senses.

Further Resources:

NHS : Reduce your own stress – https://people.nhs.uk/inspiration/

Employee stress: Tips for Line Managers (Westfield Health)

Square Breathing for Calmness (Westfield Health)

Managing stress: Top tips for coping under pressure (Westfield Health)