Sometimes a little pressure at work can help to sustain motivation, improve individual performance and drive results – but when employees lack the support to manage excessive workloads and imposing deadlines it can quickly escalate to unmanageable levels of stress. If left unaddressed, this can lead to longer term mental and physical health problems that are harder to reverse. Indeed 8 in 10 British workers are overweight or living with a long-term illness that limits their productivity costing the economy £21.5bn (that’s 103 million work days) a year, and 1 in 5 GP appointments are for psychological problems such as stress, anxiety and depression.
We spoke to Cathy Bailey of Cardiff based Office Om for tips on for winter wellbeing for busy business owners.
This time of year can be a tough time for many. It’s darker and colder outside and we typically don’t feel like doing as much but unfortunately, our to-do list doesn’t generally reduce itself accordingly to accommodate the festive season. Indeed, Christmas can add a huge pressure at a time when our energy levels are naturally lower, and for small business owners this can be a particularly busy time of year. Many of us feel pressured or overwhelmed.
We recommend strategies based on Mindfulness, Movement and Mindset to empower people to reduce their stress levels and increase their wellbeing. Whilst stress can be helpful at times, for example to help us get more work done and to make life more interesting, too much stress can have negative effects on our physical health, mood and relationships. Bring able to counter-balance the stress with wellbeing techniques can help us thrive. Here are a few ideas to help manage our energy levels and find places of calm in amongst the seasonal busy-ness.
Mindfulness, simply, is about connecting our mind to the present moment. This might sound straight-forward, but can feel complicated in practice, particularly when you have a seemingly ever-increasing workload. However, the benefits can be huge. In the short term, mindfulness can give our minds a break from unhelpful thinking. Rather than spending so much time dwelling on all the things we need to do or all the things that have already happened, we’re training our mind to be in the present. Mindfulness has been shown to have long-term benefits, for example, increasing our focus, concentration, emotional reactions to situations and our relationship skills, which can all be helpful over the Christmas season. Get started at www.calm.com or download an app such as Headspace, Stop Breathe Think or Calm, all of which can help you find a few mindful minutes throughout the day.
Winter can be a time where we feel like we need to pull up the duvet, drink hot chocolate all day and hibernate. Whilst this could be helpful and beneficial at times, keeping a level of activity can help us feel better mentally, emotionally and physically. Find an activity that works for you over winter. Whether that’s an exercise video, some stretches you can do at your desk or wrapping up warm and going for a walk – find something that helps you feel good.
Noticing when our minds have drifted to unhelpful places can be another strategy which can be helpful. For example, maybe our minds are dwelling on an impending visit from the tax man – all the questions they raised last time they came and all the annoying things they have ever done. Notice how you feel as you think in this way. Maybe it is helpful to motivate yourself to design a different outcome which will take the pressure off you, for example, receiving HMRC’s approval that all of your tax affairs are in order If you notice your mind lingering on negativity, try asking yourself, “is this helpful to think about?”. Can you put all that stuff mentally in a box? What would it be helpful to think about right now? By bringing our mind to thoughts which are more helpful, our mindset will improve which will help control our stress levels.
Whatever your views on what’s been going on politically this year, many people have noticed an increase in people being less compassionate towards each other. Conversely, increased compassion has been linked to improved mental and physical health. Try focussing on the good feelings that you get when giving presents, helping your customers or doing something simple for charity whilst noting that this is really good for your wellbeing too.
It’s an important time to be kinder to ourselves too. Upping our self-care needs to be a priority in winter. This helps us be physically and mentally at our best. What can you do to improve your self-care? Whether this is making sure you get enough sleep, having a hot bath or simply eating less mince pies, making self-care a priority can help you flourish through the winter months.
If you’d like a consultation session to discuss how Office Om can help your business, please contact Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org or try her workshop on January 14th at the Clayton Hotel in Cardiff to practice mindfulness, office yoga and relaxation strategies and plan your wellbeing for 2017. Visit www.officeom.com/events to find out more – iNsight readers receive a £5 discount on the event by using the code TAKE5
READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE LATEST ISSUE OF INSIGHT HERE: wellbeing-at-work