Public Health at North Lincolnshire Council is encouraging people who are feeling ‘stressed’ to seek help before it’s too late. Last year, in the UK, there were 244,000 new cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety.
The total number of working days lost due to stress, depression or anxiety was 11.3m in Great Britain between April 2013 and March 2014. That is an average of 23 days per case of stress, depression or anxiety.
Many people don’t act positively to reduce the stress in their lives until physical symptoms force them to consider how their lifestyle is affecting their well-being.
There are numerous steps you can take to avoid the risk of being affected by stress:
Learn to recognise when you are stressed: knowing what causes stress can help avoid such things in the future
Learn to relax: many people do not include relaxation time in their schedules. Conscious relaxation is important for your body and mind and can help you deal with the negatives of stress
Time Management: effective time management allows the amount of work or other commitments undertaken to be regulated, reduces the uncertainty of not having enough time to complete every task required and allows for the planning of ‘time off’ periods in which to relax
Reduce the demands on yourself: do not over commit yourself and be prepared to say ‘no’ if the load is too great. It is common for people to overestimate how much can be achieved in a particular space of time, so leave free time to cope with the unexpected
Ensure that you get enough fun out of life: plan time in the day to do something that gives you pleasure. Looking forward to such times helps when you have to cope with unpleasant aspects of life
Positive thinking: do not dwell on failures and reward yourself for your successes. Accept that everyone cannot exceed at everything. Reflect on what you have achieved
Practice assertiveness: asserting yourself in a positive, non-threatening way can help combat stress. Accept the demands placed on you only as a matter of choice
Looking after your physical well-being: people are better able to cope with stress when their bodies are healthy. Poor health in itself is a major source of stress; incorporating periods of physical exercise into your routine will help improve muscle control, make you feel healthier and increase self-esteem
Seek support from others: do not try to cope with problems alone. Having someone to share your problems with can greatly help to ‘off-load’ the stress. You might find it useful to talk to a friend or work colleague, or talk to your line manager or employer if you are experiencing stress in the workplace.
Frances Cunning (pictured), Director of Public Health at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “Often, people don’t seek help soon enough and that’s when it can start to impact on their lives and others. There are simple steps you can take to help avoid stress. Knowing the trigger points and how to avoid them is key. This isn’t always easy, especially if you have a demanding job or home life. But there is help out there, whether it’s by sharing what you are going through with a friend or relative, or going to see your doctor. The main thing to remember is you are not alone. Following these simple steps can help, as can your doctor. You don’t have to suffer; it will only get worse if you ignore the signs. Empower yourself by doing something about it and make little changes that will make a difference.”