Do you understand the triggers of stress?

Tuesday 19 May 2020
Is stress mainly triggered by financial or workplace concerns? What role do bad bosses play? Can sleep help?

We have to be at our best so we can thrive. I can’t be a positive leader for my team if I’m not in the right place mentally, nor can I be there for my children if I’m run down. Self-care teaches us to put ourselves first and prioritise looking after ourselves. Even the little things keep you happier, healthier and better placed to take on the world.

If I can feel myself getting stressed, I stop and go for a quick walk around the block. A breath of fresh air and a chance to work through the “fog” means I can come back refreshed and ready to go again.

We can apply these learnings in the workplace by understanding our own needs, ensuring that we listen to ourselves and knowing what it looks like when we’re performing but also when we’re not right.

It’s crucial that we understand the main triggers of stress at work. Check out Benenden’s How Well Do You Manage Stress At Work? quiz here.

For some, it can be easier to manage stress when working from home because when it’s getting too much you’re more likely to be able to just stop or just shut down for a while, whereas at work that isn’t always possible. At home you might also have more of a support network who you can lean on when it’s getting too much, such as a partner or parent.

In my workplace, we introduced Wellness Action Plans. These are personalised, practical tools that all colleagues can use to help identify how to be at our best, what might get in the way, and the support we would like to receive from others to boost our wellbeing. They give employees permission to take time for self-reflection, encourages them to promote self-care and take accountability for their wellbeing. We also have access to a 24/7 helpline through our employee assistance programme, where you can speak to a qualified counsellor whenever you need it. And we have colleagues who we’ve trained as Mental Health First Aiders and they are available during the working day.

Employers need to be aware that their employees are all human who can face challenges that can’t be just shut off when they’re at their desk.

According to CMI’s Manager's Voice research, only 49% of managers have been trained on how to manage mental health problems in the workplace. According to official stats by the ONS, when polled in March 2020, almost half (49.6%) of people in the UK reported high levels of anxiety. Right now, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, stress is more common than ever.

For more content related to Covid-19 and managing through this challenging time, visit our Leading Through Uncertainty hub.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re pleased to point you towards some useful CMI resources and articles:

- ManagementDirect article: CMI's staff welfare and wellbeing checklist

- How one Ex-Googler tackled burnout

- Benenden Health's How Well Do You Know Stress? quiz

- CMI's five-point guide for managing stress

- Managing your mental health during a crisis

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