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Stress Awareness – look after your human needs

by Simon Briffa | 1 April 2021

Everyone experiences some form of stress in their lives. Be that stress at home or work, we all struggle from time-to-time. But stress isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, stress can be a benefit just as much as it can be a hinderance – if you know how to manage and use it to your advantage. 

When thinking about the benefits of stress it is important to view it as anything that alters our stability, helping us to respond to situations and learn from them. Good stress therefore is vital for a healthy life, but bad stress can have a hugely detrimental impact on our wellbeing and ability to remain motivated and productive. In order to counteract the negative consequences of stress we need to be able to recognise it, manage it and change our surroundings to help deal with it.

I wanted to draw upon author Stephen Covey’s four dimensions of human needs and offer some tips on what you can do to help your own wellbeing.

Stephen Covey’s four dimensions of human needs

Steven Covey states that we need four things to 'maintain and improve the implement that is you' and, in turn, we will stay motivated and productive. He breaks these down into four dimensions: physical, mental, spiritual and social/emotional. Although not directly related to stress management, I do believe that we can greatly reduce stress in our day-to-day lives by working on these four dimensions.

At Sellick Partnership, we truly believe this and spent time throughout the COVID-19 pandemic focusing on one of these areas each Wednesday in our ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ initiative. Here are some of the things we started doing to help our staff manage their own stress, and highlight how important it is to remain healthy, both physically and mentally, at work and at home.

Physical/Body – keeping fit, eat well avoid bad things

This one is simple. If we look after our physical selves, our mental health will be in much better shape. It is therefore important to keep active and eat healthily. Even getting out for a small walk or getting some fresh air can have a positive impact and help to reduce stress.

That is why we always actively encourage all our employees to take their full lunch each and every day. Getting away from the desk and switching off for a period of time each day is hugely important and will help keep your mind fresh and ensure you stay motivated.

Mind – nourish your brain

Engaging your mind and doing something that helps you use all parts of your brain is hugely important in reducing stress. If you are constantly working, remain on the go and only using your brain for work then you will burn out very quickly. Using your mind for other activities will help you relax and destress. Taking yourself away and doing something you enjoy is important here. You might want to read a good book, listen to your favourite podcast or music or simply catch up on your favourite TV show. Whatever you choose, make sure it works for you.

Heart/Social/emotional – surround yourself by good people, take good advice, be kind listen to others

Human contact and interaction is one of the best ways for us to de-stress. Many people will use socialising with friends at the weekend as a way to relax after a hectic week. Having said this, socialising at work may have reduced since pandemic restrictions were lifted, with people working remotely for a number of days during the week. 

To get around this, we have been ensuring our teams are in regular contact throughout the day - even when they are working from home. We have a companywide WhatsApp Group and gave everyone access to video conferencing software. We are one big family at Sellick Partnership, and not staying in touch would greatly impact our culture. Communicating with one another helps us ensure that the mental and physical wellbeing of our employees are catered for and, in turn, reduces stress as well as increases morale and productivity across the business.

Giving back is also a great way of reducing stress. Getting involved with volunteering, supporting charities and general CSR initiatives are proven to lift moods, so get involved and help others where possible. This again, is something that is really important to Sellick Partnership and we encourage all of our staff to get involved where they can.

Spiritual – who you are, your values and behaviours

Looking after your mental wellbeing, and reducing stress relies on you being happy with who you are. Not everyone relates to spirituality, but everyone can take a few minutes just to be with themselves, and that is what this is all about. To reduce stress in your day-to-day, it is important to get in touch with your personal values and your mission which will be unique to you – so do this in whatever way feels most comfortable.

Meditation, yoga and prayer are all great ways of doing this. You might also feel like taking yourself into a room to read a book or listen to music. Do whatever helps you to relax and get in touch with yourself, and spend some time de-stressing away from everything else that is going on.

Doing something you enjoy away from your home workspace will help you de-stress and will be beneficial to your overall wellbeing. You might also want to read motivational books or listen to podcasts that will help you stay motivated. Some of these things can even be done while working, for example, having something inspirational playing in the background during the day helps so many people deal with stress.

Those are just four areas we think are imperative to dealing with stress both at work and at home. There will be loads of other tips, so if these do not work for you then don’t worry. Visit the Stress Management website for lots of additional tools to help you deal with stress your way.