National Stress Awareness Day

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To mark National Stress Awareness Day, Health Shield takes a closer look at how you can reduce the amount of stress in your employees’ lives, both in general and with a health cash plan.

Stress is an all too common illness and if left untreated can lead to further health issues. Whether it’s work-related stress or balancing family life or financial worries, it can happen to anybody.

Stress has an impact on all areas of the body, some of which you might not even consider, and it affects social and professional lives. Combating stress isn’t an overnight fix, it will take time, but following some simple tips will help your employees feel calmer and begin tackling the problem no matter how small.

There are some obscure methods reported that will allegedly help people de-stress, like peeling an orange, drinking some black tea or even eating a bowl of oatmeal. Have a look at our top 10 tips and see how these suggestions can help:

  1. Write worries down. It’s as good as talking and letting out what’s bothering your employees can make them feel better and help them make sense of their worries. It can also help them to tackle and realise what’s important. Whether this is with you, or providing a professional telephone or face-to-face counselling service.
  2. Take some time away from everything and read a book. It is believed by psychologists that concentrating on reading and being distracted by a literary world eases tension throughout the body including the heart.
  3. Get a massage — an aromatherapy massage is a great way to de-stress and relieve worries leaving you feeling more relaxed.
  4. Think about something or someone to be grateful for. This is known to improve a person’s mood by reducing stress hormones in the body. Whether it’s family, health, or friends. There are many things that we can say we are grateful for not least the obvious things but small things too — like laughter, animals and the sun!
  5. Not only does it help your overall health and wellbeing, it’s also shown to help boost the body’s ability to deal with stress and relieve tension after a stressful day. Try joining a local yoga, pilates or tai chi class or learn some techniques with a book or DVD at home.
  6. Eat dark chocolate. Of course this is within limits as we don’t want to damage another aspect of your health, but it is shown to lower the release of stress hormones and makes it easier for you to combat stressful situations.
  7. Go to the beach. It’s commonly said that the relaxing sound of waves can help to reduce stress; this is because the water can induce a meditation-like state of mind making the body feel calm and focused. If you don’t live near the beach, try listening to some meditation music at home instead.
  8. Do something nice for someone else. It doesn’t matter who, but doing nice things for people you know and love makes you feel 100 times better. If you’ve got a lot of stress this may feel like the last thing you want to do, but being kind to others increases the chance of feeling a better person and improves overall mood.
  9. Spend some time in the sun — safely of course. Whether it’s in your garden during the summer months, or taking a holiday. The sun is infectious; it makes you feel happier and lifts your mood. Sunlight also helps your body produce its daily dose of vitamin D which is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. You only need 20 minutes of exposure to UVB light, at which point vitamin D will no longer be produced.
  10. Finally, try looking through some old photographs. An expert suggested that ‘indulging in nostalgia can counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety’ and often brings back happy memories which may have been forgotten about.

It goes without saying if these tips don’t work and you do feel like you need more help please seek professional advice, whether this is a trip to the doctor or speaking to a professional over the phone or face-to-face. Remember, being a member of a Health Shield health cash plan means you could have access to a confidential 24-hour helpline, or employee assistance programme that can help you with stress and anxiety.