Stress is defined by Health Direct as an “expected human response to challenging or dangerous situations.” Small amounts of stress can be supportive to our growth and development, but large amounts of stress can decrease alertness, energy and productivity.
Did you know? Stress releases your ‘fight or flight’ response, which in turn releases adrenaline and cortisol hormones that increase your heart rate, metabolism and breathing.
Some of the signs of stress include:
Please seek professional advice or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you or someone you know is in crisis.
You have identified yourself or someone you know as being stressed, now what?
There is a range of different techniques and strategies that can help improve your stress levels at work, which in return can help re-motivate you. We have 5 tips for managing stress, however, we do recommend you seek a health professional or complete Health Direct’s online symptom checker to get advice on your best course of action.
Tip #1 | Strategies and Activities
It is important for you to create a strategy so you know exactly what you need assistance with, so you can make these changes and can see progress. Without any clear direction or goals, you can fall back into your bad habits again.
Find an activity you can complete when you are feeling stressed, this can help you to stop, calm down, refocus and revaluate the situation. Whether you are doing mindfulness activities to help you rethink your emotions, or find a physical activity you can do which will help in that given situation.
Lumosity is an online game developed by neuroscientists which aims to empower individuals to live better and brighter lives. It starts by testing your attention, flexibility and maths skills to then provide you with insights
Tip #2 | Meditation and Relaxation
Meditation is explained by Healthline as being “the habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.”
By meditating you can increase awareness of yourself and what’s happening around you, which can help you to reduce stress, create healthier habits and have a more positive outlook on life. Taking the time to stop and rewind is extremely important, especially as we are moving a million miles a minute.
There are a variety of different ways you can meditate or relax, you just need to find what works for you. For more information on the types of meditation read the Healthline article here.
You can also relax at work by going outside for some fresh air, giving your hands or body a massage (or use a roller), relaxing your muscles, stepping away from your computer and have some undisturbed alone time in a quiet space, take deep breaths or listen to some calming music or sounds. Remember to slow down and take time for yourself, as work cannot be done if you are not well or in the mental headspace to complete it.
Tip #3 | Health and Fitness
Your physical health and fitness is so important, as exercise is linked to mood enhancement and the blood pumped into your brain helps you to think more clearly. This in return can increase the part of the brain which is responsible for memory and helps protect you against injury and diesease.
The Australian Guidelines recommends 30 minutes of moderate to intensive physical activity throughout the day. It is also important that during this time you practice mindfulness and choose activities that you enjoy to keep you motivated. By combining exercise with a healthy diet you will gain more energy throughout the day, increasing focus, attentuion and productivity at work.
Looking for an exercise that you can enjoy and fit into your daily routine? Try one of the following:
There are lots of ways we can make small adjustments into our lives to improve our health and fitness. This includes taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking to work, ‘deskercise’ (this can be a fun team exercise), stretching and standing up from your desk for at least 1 minute every hour.
Tip #4 | Find Your Happy
Whether you keep a journal or a mental log of every time you feel happy, then think about what exactly made you feel that way in the moment. This can help you to create purpose and give you more control over your own emotions. This is also a process of trial and error, if you try something to make you feel happier and it didn’t work then pick yourself up and try something else.
It is also important to remain grateful and find positives in your day even when you are feeling down. Start by writing down 3 things you are grateful for in your day, and this can also be used to turn your negatives into positives.
For example, you are informed by your manager that a new policy is going to be enforced which means that the project you are working on now needs to be reworked and changed. You are thankful for the opportunity to review your work and improve it to a higher standard. If you can change your mindset to see things in a more positive light then your negative thoughts will disappear and you will be happier for it.
Remember there are people around you that can help you to find your happy, you are not in this alone.
Tip #5 | Keep Informed and Stay Connected
The world is changing and we know it! But it’s more important than ever for us to keep learning and maintain social connections with others.
Ways you can keep informed and stay connected includes:
If you want to meet new people in the industry, get discounted training to stay informed and up to date in your career, then register for an IPAA SA Membership here.
Health Direct 2019, Stress, Health Direct, viewed 7 October 2021, <https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/stress>.
Health Direct 2019, Exercise and Mental Health, viewed 14 October 2021, <https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/exercise-and-mental-health>.
Very Well Mind 2021 Effective Stress Relievers for Your Life, viewed 14 October 2021, <https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-to-reduce-stress-3145195>.
In 2021, South Australia’s Mental Health Awareness Program in October has expanded from a week to a month!
We all have a role to play!
Image source: mhcsa.org.au
With approximately 50% of Australians being diagnosed with mental illness in their lifetimes, 50% are likely to know someone living with or have experienced mental illness, making it something that effects everyone.
In the workplace 91% of employees believe mental health in the workplace is important, however, only 52% of employees believe their workplace is mentally healthy. Now if the workplace was to invest in strategies to improve their employee wellbeing, they would improve productivity, increase attendance, and reduce health compensation claims.
A PwC report showed that an investment of $1 in workplace mental health strategies will gain an average return on investment of $2.30. Without effective workplace strategies to improve wellbeing there could be a significant cost to your business / department and to your team (remember mental illness effects everyone).
This Mental Health Month provides you with an opportunity to have a conversation with your friends, family, colleagues and community about mental health.
Speak up and remember we can all make a difference!
Get involved by attending one of the Mental Health Month Events, organise a staff event, or just start a conversation with someone. Some of the upcoming events include:
To view the full program visit their website here.
It is so important to provide support to those around us. If you or someone you know are struggling with their mental health, please seek support from one of the following services.
Lifeline | 13 11 14
If you need crisis support and thinking of self harm you can call Lifeline for phone support.
Uniting Communities COVID-19 Mental Health Line | 1800 632 753
From 8am – 8pm everyday (excl. public holidays) you can access this phone or online chat service for mental health support.
SA Health | Find a Public Health Service to support your needs
SA Health has a comprehensive range of public mental health services for children and adolescents, adults and older people in SA
Beyond Blue | 1300 22 4636
Beyond Blue provides information and support services to help Australian’s with their mental health. Call now or access their online services for additional support.
To learn more about the available services in South Australia visit the Mental Health Month website here, and find out more information about the program.
Beyond Blue 2021, Statistics, Beyond Blue Ltd, viewed 7 October 2021, <https://www.beyondblue.org.au/media/statistics>.
Mental Health Coalition of South Australia 2021, Mental Health Month, MHCSA, viewed 7 October 2021, <https://mhcsa.org.au/mental-health-month/>.
PwC 2014, ‘Creating a mentally healthy workplace’, Return on investment analysis, PwC, viewed 7 October 2021 <https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/beyondblue_workplaceroi_finalreport_may-2014.pdf>.