News / Bristol

Milestones Trust’s tips to help combat workplace stress

By ellie pipe, Thursday May 11, 2017

Work stresses may be minor or major, but they can easily build up.

In the spirit of Bristol’s Five a day wellness campaign, Milestones Trust’s assistant director of mental health Beth Hendry, has put together a list of top tips to help people combat anxiety in the workplace – where, like it or not, most of us spend a huge portion of our time.

Soldiering on may be the traditional British way, but Hendry understands from first-hand experience that it is not always the right way, and says that being aware of your own and your colleagues’ well-being can make a big difference.

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Hendry’s top tips:

Connect

Feeling close and valued by other people is a basic human need and one that contributes to feeling well. Social relationships are important for promoting well-being and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.

Make a connection at work by:

  • Talking to someone instead of sending an email.
  • Speaking to someone new.
  • Asking how someone’s weekend was and really listening when they tell you.
  • Putting five minutes aside to find out how someone really is.
  • Giving a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them.

Bristol Walk Fest is a pretty darn good excuse to get out in the fresh air.

Be active

Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Just going for a walk can be beneficial.

Get active at work by:

  • Taking the stairs not the lift.
  • Going for a walk at lunchtime.
  • Walking into work – perhaps with a colleague – so you can connect as well.
  • Getting off the bus one stop earlier and walking the final part of your journey.
  • Organising a work sporting activity.
  • Walking to someone’s desk instead of calling or emailing.

A Plant Some Sunshine event hosted by St Mungo’s for Mental Health Awareness Week showed the simple, positive benefits of planting flowers and connecting with the community.

Take notice

Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring the moment can help to reaffirm your life priorities.

Take time to notice and enjoy your work environment by:

  • Getting a plant for your workspace.
  • Having a ‘clear the clutter’ day.
  • Taking notice of how your colleagues are feeling or acting.
  • Taking a different route on your journey to or from work.
  • Visiting a new place for lunch.

Learn

Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. Setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of well-being.

Every day’s a school day, even in the workplace! You can learn by:

  • Finding out something about your colleagues.
  • Signing up for a class.
  • Reading the news or a book.
  • Setting up a book club.
  • Doing a crossword or Sudoku.
  • Researching something you’ve always wondered about.
  • Learning a new word.

Making someone a cup of coffee can make their day. (Photo from Extract Coffee Roasters)

Give

Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in well-being.

  • Show your colleagues you’re thinking of them by:
  • Making them a cup of tea or coffee when they get in.
  • Leaving a flower or biscuit on their desk.
  • Sticking a post-it note to their computer with a positive message on.
  • Giving positive feedback when they’ve done some great work.

Milestones Trust is a Bristol-based charity that supports people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and dementia.

 

Read more: Mental Health Awareness Week: planting sunshine in St Jude’s

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