To mark International Stress Awareness Week, TTG has gathered tips from the experts on coping with stress in the workplace
Combined with the long hours often endemic in travel, stress can take a serious toll. Symptoms can range from being irritable and not able to concentrate, to headaches, indigestion, problems sleeping, compulsive behaviour and depression.
Aside from the clear health implications, stress is also one of the most common causes of long term sick-leave impacting both the employee and employer, according to Dr Sagar Patel, GP at MyHealthcare Clinic in London.
This week (4-8 November) marks International Stress Awareness week, so we asked medical experts and travel companies for their insight and tips on managing stress at work.
Aside from healthy eating and regular exercise, there are a number of techniques to relieve stress. Guided meditation apps such as Headspace and deep breathing exercises can relieve feelings of anxiety, says Steve Clarke, a psychotherapist and hospital director at the Priory’s Life Works Hospital in Surrey. “Progressive Muscle Relaxation can also be done at any time during the day, which involves tensing and releasing muscles at certain intervals. There are free guided versions available online on YouTube,” he advises.
As soon as you recognise the symptoms of stress, make your body floppy, sit back in your chair and focus on diaphragmatic breathing, says Nick Davies, psychotherapist and hypnotherapist.
“Push your stomach out to breathe all the way down to the bottom of your lungs, hold the breath, then breathe in a way where it’s like you’re letting out a loud sigh for 10 breaths. Focus on a single point,” he advises.
Prevention is far better than cure, however. Planning your week or day ahead and creating a checklist of things that need to be completed by priority can be helpful. “Give yourself enough time to complete each task and schedule regular breaks to avoid burnout. Reward yourself for completing tasks, even if it’s as simple as crossing it off the checklist,” Clark says.
In the long term, it is better to manage stress before becoming overwhelmed, advises Dr Patel. “Setting boundaries, planning ahead and taking time for self- care will all help to make chronic stress more manageable and allow you to find the right work-life balance.”