Managing people, managing teams, it’s no easy task and it’s one that gets infinitely harder for managers and HR teams alike in the run-up to a holiday period. Trying to set up a coherent shift pattern that keeps a business running while still accommodating various absence requests, time off for training, unusual opening times, and unexpected absences can feel a little like trying to plait fog. (Although there are systems that can help you deal with this. Like ours.)
Add on top of all that all the usual tasks that need to be done on any given day and you have a neat recipe for stress.
In general, we all tend to be bad at noticing when it’s all getting a bit much. Modern life often feels geared up to keep us in a constant state of stress, whether that’s worrying about finances, politics, health – and that’s all before you even get to the workplace! And while a little stress is a good thing, too much can lead to a whole host of problems so it’s important to be mindful of stress in yourself and in others.
Stress can do nasty things to a person with knock-on effects that can manifest as physical symptoms – such as headaches, stomach issues, trouble sleeping – or emotional and behavioural changes, such as being more irritable, anxious, restless or unable to concentrate. Mind UK has a more comprehensive list of the symptoms of stress if you’d like to know more.
With all that in mind, here are some of the best ways to de-stress if you’re starting to feel a little frazzled:
1. Get back to nature
Most of us spend the majority of our lives indoors. Working all day in the office, commuting home and spending most evenings inside…it’s amazing that we don’t wilt like sun-deprived flowers. The British weather may be partly to blame, but taking a walk in a park or sitting in your garden with a good book can do wonders for your mood.
Easier said than done on days when it feels like there are more tasks to be done than hours in a day. Yet even getting out on your lunch break for a brisk walk can help – in fact it’s a great option as taking your lunch break and getting away from your desk helps to recharge your batteries and set you up for a productive afternoon. The key is finding exercise you enjoy, be it running, swimming, walking, curling…whatever gets those endorphins going – and then sticking with it.
3. Remember what you love
Not everybody can relax passively, some people need to be doing something in order to relax like cooking, writing, completing puzzles, colouring in. But it’s easy to let slide those fun, calming pastimes when life is piling on the stress. If you find that your day has shrunk down to the bare essentials, moving from work to housework to life admin with barely a pause for food or a drink, then it’s time to take a second to reassess and do something for yourself.
The simplest, easiest thing to do – right? Yet apparently we’ve become shallow breathers – a type of breathing that does nothing to help with the stress response. Employing mindfulness techniques can help ease away some of the overwhelming feelings of stress by forcing you back to the most basic thing we do: breathe. There are a multitude of apps and videos available online to help you get started.
There you have it, four ways to help you de-stress before the holidays. Consider these only a start point as there are a myriad of things you can do to help ease the stress in your life, the trick is to find the ones that work best for you.