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Stress awareness month 2019 – How to combat stress at work

With the role of a PR professional falling within the top ten most stressful jobs in the UK, we spoke to our team to find out their personal stress management techniques.

Stress Awareness month

Held every April, the month is designed to increase public awareness around both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. Stress is one of the great public health challenges of our time, but it still isn’t being taken as seriously as physical health concerns.

Stress in the workplace can affect every aspect of an organisation, from absenteeism rates to interpersonal relationships. It is estimated that 11.3 million working days are lost a year to stress. With the average company with 1,000 employees losing £269,730 to sick days each year.

With the role of a PR professional falling within the top ten most stressful jobs in the UK, combatting stress is something we’ve become experts at. Recent research by the Charted Institute of Public Relations found that over a fifth of public relations professionals had been diagnosed with a mental health condition, while 75% of survey respondents said that agency or consultancy communications was the most stressful sector.

Stress management at work

  • Recognising the signs of stress and the causes is the best place to begin.
  • Have a think about what you find stressful and helpful in the workplace. Once you know what works for you, talk to your employer, line managers or mentors about this.
  • Everyone is different, it important to find a coping technique that works for you – check out the Stress Management Society ‘s website for ideas.
  • Try mindfulness. Focusing on the here and now can help you to create space to respond in new ways to situations.
  • Look after your physical health.

Although there are a lot of great resources out there, we spoke to our team to find out their personal stress management techniques.

Overwhelmed by the amount of work?

PR & marketing manager, Amy Macdonald: “When you’re overwhelmed by the amount of work you’re facing or feeling paralysed by a workplace challenge it is easy to lose perspective. One thing we’ve started doing in our office is answering a prompt of gratitude every morning; it starts the day off positively and also puts you in a fantastic frame of mind. A couple of examples include: what makes you happy? What is the best decision you’ve made to-date? There are a bunch of free lists out there, take a look. Not only does this activity help you feel happier, it also makes you feel connected to your colleagues too.”

 

Always up against the clock

Account executive, Cara May Cole: “I’ve always felt that work stress is the trickiest to deal with. You’re always up against the clock with some sort of deadline to work towards. In times like this, the best advice I’ve ever been given is to simply just stop. Not stop the task altogether, but take 10 minutes and walk away.

“Personally, I become increasingly more useless when I’m sitting in the midst of my stress. It’s when I start making careless mistakes, which will only have to be sorted out later.

“Walking away for a while and clearing my head means that I often come back to my desk with a bit more perspective and calm over my jobs for the day.”

 

Plan your day

Account director, Sarah Howells: “Of course, we work in a high pressured environment spinning a lot of plates and shifting deadlines. The things I do/ my top tips include:

“Plan your day – focus on what’s achievable and be realistic without trying to set yourself up to fail.

“Write tomorrow’s to do list at the end of the day. I find this helps me to put closure on the working day and helps me focus.

“Get fresh air – even if it is a 10 minute walk around the block, getting some fresh air and getting away from your desk/ screen is invaluable.

 

“Three minute breathing space – YouTube is full of helpful guided meditations. Mark William’s three minute breathing space is the Swiss army knife of stress-busting support. Download it onto your phone and nip into a quiet room for just three minutes to get some space and clarity.

“Keep perspective – it’s just work at the end of the day. Stress management is accessible to everyone. Having hobbies outside of work and recognising that it’s not the most important thing in life is a great place to start.”

Throughout the month of April, we will be testing out a variety of stress-busting apps so check back toward the end of the month to see our recommendations.

By Holly Hill

Holly has worked in both the public and private sectors, with extensive experience in software, technology and services industries as well as within the emergency services and crisis communications. Holly has recently completed her CIPR Advanced PR Certificate and supports the Cartwright teams with PR campaigns, social media and event management.

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