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Stress – can our bodies, minds and businesses cope?


Our modern day stresses are very different to our Stone Age ancestors but our bodies still react in exactly the same way…

But what has this got to do with business

The top 5 UK killers can be traced back to stress!!

According to the Health & Safety Executive’s stress report 2013

Work-related stress caused workers in Great Britain to lose 10.4 million working days in 2011/12 based on the LFS (Labour Force Survey) data. Male workers accounted for an estimated 4.6 million days off work whilst female workers accounted for an estimated 5.8 million.

On average, each person suffering from this condition took 24 days off work. This is one of the highest average days lost per case figure amongst the recognised health complaints covered in the LFS

So what actually happens physiologically in our bodies?

  • Pupils dilate so we can see more clearly
  • Heart pumps more blood to our muscles in readiness for attack
  • The body releases adrenalin to help us fight or flight
  • Our blood thickens so it clots quickly to avoid bleeding to death if we were attacked by a sabre-toothed animal!!
  • We have clarity of thought to enable us to think of the best way to survive.

Stress in short burst is actually ok; the issues start when the stress is sustained for long periods of time!!

Symptoms of long-term stress:

Emotional Physical Behavioural
Excessive worry Aches and pains Overuse of alcohol/drugs
Moodiness Muscle tension Overeating/poor eating
Bad dreams Headaches Depression
Lethargy Tiredness Forgetfulness
Irritability Sleep problems Clumsiness
Poor concentration Digestive problems e.g. bloating, constipation/diarrhoea Tension

Consequences of long-term stress:

  • Problems relating to thyroid function
  • Hypertension and other cardio-vascular disorders
  • Reduced serotonin production leading to mood disorders e.g. depression
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Blood sugar imbalances and diabetes
  • Immune deficiencies leading to allergies, inflammatory disease and dysbiosis

Unfortunately we can’t get rid of stress from our lives but we can learn more about how to recognise the symptoms and how to manage it to lessen the impact on our health & lives.

My top 10 tips for managing stress:

  1. Avoid caffeine & alcohol – You might think these are helping but all they are doing is making your body more stress & having to deal with more stuff – Try replacing with herbal or green tea which can help relax you & your body.
  2. Make sure you have breakfast, one which is oat based is preferable; oats are a rich source of B-vitamins which help you to stay calm.
  3. Keep a stress diary so that you can work out what are the triggers for your stress & then you can figure out how to deal with them in the future.
  4. Try to eat in a non-stressful environment – when in a stress state, digestion is a non-essential function of the body so it stops!! You just need to give yourself about 20 minutes to eat & allow for digestion to start. This means your body will benefit from the nutrients you are eating/digesting!!
  5. Find time to relax – even during the day!! Just a couple of minutes of slow controlled breathing can help your body to calm down and slow the release of the stress hormones.
  6. Light to moderate exercise – When we exercise our body releases endorphins which help us to feel good.
  7. Smile and laugh – we all know we feel better after a really good belly laugh and science has proven it’s a great stress release, so do whatever makes you smile J
  8. Try to get an average of 8 hours sleep a night, our body’s use the time while we are asleep to repair & replenish itself.
  9. It might not always be possible but try to have a regular routine or waking and going to bed, your body is a finely tuned machine & likes routine!
  10. Eat regular meals to keep your blood sugar balanced & give your body the fuel it needs to deal with the stress.

And bonus tip

  • Take a good quality multi-vitamin & mineral!! When stressed our body uses up vitamins and minerals more than usual!!

There are plenty more things you can do but I could be here all day so will leave it there for now!!

Over the years I’ve worked with individuals, teams and organisations to help them manage stress in a more effective way, this has led to a decrease in absenteeism, increase in productivity & general wellbeing of the employees – It makes business sense to keep on top of stress!Wheel of wellbeing, culture and performance No branding

The wheel of wellbeing, culture and performance is a great place to start to see where changes can be made, if you would like to know how I can help you kick stress away from your life/business, then call me today for an no-obligation wheel of wellbeing, culture & performance review.

My next blog post will be The serious business of fun in the workplace!!

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