Stress is something that affects all companies and as an SME with a tight-knit team, it’s very easy to feel the ripples of stress throughout the team when we are experiencing busy periods. Stress is fine in small doses, but when it occurs over a prolonged period of time, it can lead to other mental health problems like anxiety or depression. It can also make you feel pretty weird too, from headaches, nausea and indigestion to aches, irritability and not sleeping properly.
In April, Team Neo embarked on a mini challenge for Stress Awareness Month. The objective was pretty simple – to raise awareness of stress in the workplace and to give the team some new ideas on how to manage it correctly. We kicked off the month with a group session looking at stress and how we currently manage it. Then, each week following we did something to destress, including a group meditation session, a walk around the field and a team social to get us out of the office. Our debrief session at the end of the month was a chance for everyone to share their experiences and their learnings which we’ve compiled into this blog post!
Here are five things we learned from our Stress Awareness Month initiative.
Our to-do lists have been continuously growing this month and one of the main things everyone learned was that when it comes to feeling the pressure, it’s always better to tell someone how you’re feeling. At Neo PR, we’re really lucky that we have a very close knit team but sometimes we might feel a little guilty offloading our worries onto someone else – especially if they are already stressed! Even if it’s just 10 minutes of time to go through priorities or to talk about your worries with your line manager, it can really help. Plus, if someone else knows you’re stressed, they won’t keep pushing you for things and can give you help in managing your time.
We’re a small PR agency, which means we go through super busy periods! However, we’ve learned that busy doesn’t always equate to stress. It’s very easy to throw around the word ‘stressed’ when things get busy, but sometimes all you need is a bit of perspective and to get your priorities in order.
The official dictionary definition of stress is, “A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” Someone also suggested that it feels like you have lack of or have lost control of your situation. This is more than feeling busy! It’s important to start recognising the precursors to your ‘breaking point’ so you can take steps to combat it in the future.
Everyone is different and so are everyone’s stress levels! What might cause someone a high amount of stress, might not affect someone else so it’s important to be empathetic to others if they come to you with a problem, even if their situation wouldn’t affect you. Stress can be worsened by life outside of work too so it’s important to flag these issues to another member of the team so they are aware.
Exercise, sleep and diet can really impact how you feel at work and how your body can deal with stress. If you’re tired, you are much more likely to snap if something causes you stress. It might sound obvious, but making sure you’re getting 8 – 10 hours of sleep, eating well and are exercising regularly will help your overall wellbeing as well as your ability to deal with stress. At Neo PR, we are very lucky to have our office surrounded by fields, so taking 15 – 30 minutes out of the office for a lunchtime walk can do wonders for productivity and calming your mind!
Spending time together really helps us to work better as a team and also forges stronger relationships. You are much likely to be more open and honest with a friend, which is how we like to view each other at Neo PR. This month, we took some time out on a Wednesday afternoon to go for a Wagamamas and a few games of bowling so we could forget about work for the afternoon. We had so much fun and everyone left with smiles on their faces but more importantly cheering when someone scored a strike or comforting someone who really should have had the bumpers up (we won’t name names) worked wonders for team morale.
How do you combat stress in the workplace? We’d love to know about your initiatives! Tweet us @NeoPRLtd