There is no doubt that staff wellbeing is an incredibly important thing – and it can have a massive impact on your businesses overall success and team productivity. Sadly, modern day life presents us with numerous stresses, strains and Strife’s and these can take many different forms.
Some of the top stresses in life (in the UK) are:
— Financial worries – e.g. not having enough money to live off of / debt
— Self-initiated stress – e.g. putting too much pressure on oneself, meaning you never feel ‘good enough’
— Lack of sleep – e.g. never getting enough sleep; affecting mood, productivity and health
— Too much to do / not enough time to do it – e.g. never having enough time to achieve the amount you have to do each day
— Health worries – e.g. worrying about general health and well-being
Interestingly, the same study (http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/the-5-things-that-stress-british-people-out-the-most-a6749961.html) showed that money, self-pressure and lack of sleep were also the top three stresses internationally!
With this in mind, Katie (our Director at Pier Recruitment) decided to embark on a ‘staff well-being week’ – a week of workshops and fun activities for Pier employees to take part in.
The week kicked off with a visit from Paula and John from the Minds Matter Now, Stress Management & Resilience Development Consultancy who lead a day session on how to de-stress both in the workplace and in personal life. We were then visited by Sasha and Matt from HSBC’s Financial Wellbeing team, who lead 1-2-1 and group sessions about how to manage finances and ways to overcome money-relates worries. Finally, the team was treated to an Italian Meal – a lovely way to end the week of de-stressing whilst allowing us to have fun, outside of the office.
Below are a few tips and tricks from the experts themselves, so you can put their advice (and what we learned at Pier) into practice! We have also included some information about the companies, should you wish to contact them directly to arrange your own ‘de-stress’ / ‘wellbeing’ sessions! Please be assured, we HIGHLY recommend their services and the team took away invaluable information from both sessions!
Minds Matter Now – Paula Seabourne, Founder
Minds Matter Now – Stress Management & Resilience Development Consultancy
Stress is a normal part of life. If we are in a threatening situation, we respond with the Fight or Flight Syndrome, which is an instinctual reaction to danger.
However, sometimes this response is triggered by a situation that is stressful, but not life-threatening, for example, a new client meeting that is worth a considerable amount of money, having to present a power point presentation to your boss or an annual appraisal , all can be very stressful thus creating a stressful reaction, of which in turn, for many people can become a normal reaction to many life situations and we spend so much time at work that if our job Is stressful, it can affect so many other areas of our lives. The physical effects of stress can be huge; when the fight or flight is triggered, it can create:An increased heartbeat. The heartbeat increases to pump blood with greater speed, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells and clearing away waste products.
— An increased heartbeat. The heartbeat increases to pump blood with greater speed, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells and clearing away waste products.
— As the heartbeat increases the blood pressure rises.
— Adrenaline and other hormones are released into the blood.
— The liver releases stored sugar for more energy.
— The pupils dilate to let in more light.
— All the senses work more efficiently.
— Muscles tense for movement.
— Blood flow is constricted to the hands and feet and they become cold.
— The body sweats to cool itself.
In a situation which is not life-threatening, these physical changes may be experienced as extremely unpleasant, causing palpitations, pain in the muscles resulting from excessive tension, insomnia, breathlessness, numbness, tingling, dizziness, sickness, fainting, headaches, indigestion, diarrhoea, fatigue, chest pains, blurred vision, nausea and shaking, to name but a few possible symptoms.
Stress is non-gender, race, income discriminate – it can affect people in all areas and levels of careers; therefore, it has never been more evident in this fast paced 24 /7 culture we live in today that finding ways to live a calmer more fulfilling life is essential.
Developing techniques to help alleviate the stress, in other words, getting yourself a surfboard(metaphorically) to help surf the waves as they will keep on coming or finding a way to dance in the rain as opposed to run away from the storm is what I’m saying.
By practising Mindfulness (informal and formal)* coupled with applying the following principles below, as often as possible, is a great way to start. After several weeks, you will start to notice a real difference in your everyday existence. Problems and worries won’t seem so insurmountable anymore and you will be calmer, with a more positive outlook. This, in turn, should make you more productive.
— Live in the present – By not reliving the past and ruminating over the future you can truly experience the present. Pay attention to what you are doing right here right now ….home in on your five senses- what can I smell, see, taste, touch, hear? Pay attention to what you are doing instead of letting your thoughts wander. If you notice yourself drifting, just focus on the task at hand.
— Take care of your body – Exercise is a great de-stressor…..ignite your natural endorphins to give you a buzz. Anything that stimulates you in a positive manner is good.
— Be aware – Try to have times in the day when you are techno free. Practice your awareness by not being too dependent on technologies, machines and automated processes. Use a map, read a book, plan your day on paper, take a different route and do other things that will force you to maintain a state of consciousness, to think deeply, to carefully watch every step you take.
— Single task – By focusing on one single task at a time, this alleviates the ‘spinning many plates’ scenario and performing badly thus creating a tense situation. Do one thing at a time and do it correctly and to the best of your ability …so, be realistic at all times – creating a satisfied feeling.
— Live in simplicity – If you feel that something is not essential for your happiness, you could probably live without it. What makes you happy needs space to stay with you, so getting rid of unnecessary things will help you get more space for the important ones. Decluttering your life and environment will also help you feel more relaxed and will free up your mind.
— Find time for yourself – It is not selfish to want to be happy and stress-free. Do the things that make you happy, be with people that make you smile. Smile – Smile at others and smile at yourself. You’ll be surprised how effective it is…try it….if you’re feeling stressed at your desk, smile for 10 seconds
— Breathe – Above all else……remember you have your natural calmer with you always…your anchor- your BREATH…..breathe.
*Formal Mindfulness Meditation – The formal mindfulness meditation practice can be practised as sitting meditation, walking meditation, lying down meditation (body scan) and as mindful yoga. The length of the practice is up to each practitioner, most often it ranges between 10 and 45 minutes per day.
*Informal Mindfulness Meditation – Designed to be practised during the daily events of our lives, it is about bringing our kind and gentle awareness to the full range of our experience. We observe our most immediate experience such as our breathing, thoughts, feeling, bodily sensations and our environment.
HSBC – Matt Andrews, CertRBCB
Financial Wellbeing Representative for Sussex Coast HSBC BANK PLC
Financial Wellbeing will mean something different to everyone. In summary, Financial Wellbeing could be defined as a state of being wherein a person could fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations, could feel secure in their financial future and is able to make choices that allow enjoyment of life.
People with thriving Financial Wellbeing are satisfied with their overall standard of living. They fully understand and manage their personal finances well to create financial security; this in turn eliminates the day to day stress caused by debt and helps build financial reserves, allowing them to achieve their hopes, dreams and ambitions.
Eight out of ten people feel less stressed or anxious and more in control of their lives when managing their finances; the first step to creating financial security is to set up a budget planner. Most are aware of their income and monthly financial obligations, however, the variable expenses such as food, socialising and unexpected costs can be unaccounted for. Those who take time to evaluate what is spent during the month can budget disposable income, save for short term and future goals and notice where to make cuts.
Taking control of your finances can mean re-evaluating debts, ensuring they are managed via the most cost effective and suitable route, it can mean simply checking your credit score or learning the best ways to grow your wealth in order to achieve your aspirations. The actions you take to better understand and manage your finances will ultimately make you feel more in control and less stressed.
Paula Seabourne – Minds Matter Now
Minds Matter Now offer:
1:1 stress management
Management Resilience Development
Please take a look at their website for further information. http://mindsmatternow.com or call 44 (0) 330 133 0718
Matt Andrews – HSBC
matt.e.andrews@HSBC.com | Tel: 03455 840086 or 07796702738 | Web: www.hsbc.co.uk
Emma Jones – Pier Recruitment
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This post was written by Emma Jones