Is the intense pressure and constantly changing work environment taking their toll on your wellbeing?
Has your need to perform well and prove yourself left you feeling stressed, exhausted or overwhelmed?
Would you like to take control of your wellbeing, feel energised, motivated and engaged again, instead of feeling more and more stressed out?
In this article, I summarise five areas that you can start working on to improve your wellbeing and to build resilience.
Social support networks can act as an important buffer against stress, providing you with guidance and support when necessary. Give permission to yourself and others to not have to be okay. Talking to others about your problems and asking for help is not a weakness. In fact, it is a strength to be able to discuss your problems with appropriate others. Talking through your issues with others can help you to see things from different perspectives and come up with alternative ways of dealing with your problems.
Assess your social support level by thinking about a situation at home or work that has caused you a great deal of personal stress. Consider to what extent different people in your life helped you with the problem, e.g. family, friends, colleagues, professionals. Next, think about how you can improve your social support network to create more human connections. Also consider whether you need to ask for professional or social support to help with a particular problem.
2. Be active
Engaging in regular physical activity – especially outdoors – has many benefits including boosting your immune system, improving sleep, reducing stress, depression and anxiety and increasing self-esteem, energy levels and productivity. Studies have found that running just 15 minutes per day or walking for an hour can reduce the risk of depression by 26%.
Adults should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five times a week. To develop a habit of keeping active, you can start with just 5- or 10-minute sessions and slowly increase this over time. You will probably find that once you start, you will be able to stay going for longer than you first thought. It is better to set achievable goals and build up from there. Exercise at a time of day when you feel most energetic, and remember the more exercise you do, the more energy you will have.
3. Take notice
Get outside and take notice of your surroundings. In a recent article, I reflected on a mindful photography exercise as one way of slowing down and taking notice of your surroundings and connecting with the natural world. You could also try adding a mindfulness element to exercise. For example, really try and focus on your body and how it feels as you exercise, focusing on your breathing, focus on the feel of the air against your skin…
Taking notice and focusing on something else may help to interrupt the constant flow of thoughts and worries running through your head. Also consider how you can periodically incorporate small mindfulness activities into your day, such as 2-minute breathing exercises to help restore a sense of calm. Connect fully with what is happening right here, right now.
Keep your brain active and engage in activities that are different to the types of things you learn about at work. For example, if your job involves lots of thinking, planning and strategising, you may want to try out activities which allow you to be more creative, such as arts, crafts, baking or gardening. You could also combine being active with trying out a new sport, joining a team, group or exercise class which will also help you to connect with others.
Keep an open mind, get out of your comfort zone and experiment with different types of activities until you find something you enjoy. Activities that take you outside of your head and away from the worries and responsibilities in your daily life, will be a welcome relief.
Volunteer or find other ways of looking out for those less fortunate than yourself. When we are kind and compassionate, our bodies produce oxytocin which helps to regulate stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Oxytocin can help to reduce blood pressure and inflammation and strengthen your immune system.
Remember to think about others such as your colleagues. What can you say or do to show that you care? What will give them hope, comfort or inspiration? What can you do or say to show that you appreciate someone? Express empathy with their current concerns and difficulties. Studies show that compassion not only lifts others up, but it triggers responses in our bodies and enhances decision-making and personal resilience.
I hope that you found the information in this article helpful. If you enjoyed it, please spread the word by liking/ sharing/ commenting.
During my Executive Leadership Coaching Programme one of the areas we focus on is your health and wellbeing. When you feel better, you’ll perform better. We’ll discover and explore your personal stress triggers and develop coping mechanisms to better manage stress when it does arise. By making your wellbeing a priority, you’ll begin to feel more in control of your personal experience and enhance your sense of self-belief.
To find out more, visit www.mandymurdoch.co.uk where you can also request a programme brochure, book a discovery call and sign up to my mailing list. I look forward to hearing from you!
Mandy Murdoch – Coaching Psychologist, Accredited Coach and Consultant