Stress is part of everyday life; we’ve all experienced it and it can even be good for us. However, if it’s not well managed, it can lead to many issues. This couldn’t be truer of the workplace – unsurprisingly, one of the biggest causes of stress in the UK – where it can have devastating effects on employee health and wellbeing, working relationships and productivity.
National Stress Awareness Day (Wednesday 6th November) promotes stress prevention and reminds us to take the time out to find advice and support. There’s lots of information out there on how to tackle stress in the workplace, but the best stress relievers are the ones we enjoy doing, meaning we can easily incorporate them into our daily routines. Here are four fun stress management strategies that can really help ease tension in the office.
1 Paws for thought
Office pets are quickly becoming the norm, but they’re more than just a gimmick. Research shows that animals have a positive impact on our mental health. The simple act of stroking a dog produces more oxytocin, a ‘happy hormone’ that makes you feel more relaxed, according to Marie-José Enders, who studies the relationship between animals and humans at the Open University. It’s not just dogs that do the trick though – office cats, rabbits and fish (a Thrive favourite!) all provide a dose of stress relief in a hectic workplace.
Offices can be serious and tense at times and that’s OK – sometimes they need to be. But injecting some silliness into a professional setting when appropriate can be the perfect antidote to stress, as well as helping to engage staff and boost morale. So, what’s the science? Laughter increases the endorphins released by your brain, aids circulation and muscle relaxation and cools down your stress response, which decreases your heart rate and blood pressure. They say that laughter is the best form of medicine – and it’s true.
3 The art of stress relief
Do sparse, sanitised workspaces motivate and inspire you? Probably not. A splash of colour can change the mood of a meeting room and a work of art can be a healthy distraction, actually boosting productivity, increasing wellbeing and lowering stress. Thrive workspaces are decked out in our trademark style, with bold colours, funky furniture and our famous ‘dogs in dresses’ wallpaper to help our tenants and Club Thrive members feel happier and more energised.
4 Let it grow
It’s well documented that biophilic office design (the use of natural materials, vegetation and other natural influences in the design of the workplace) helps to improve mental health. Creating a workplace garden goes one step further… Gardening not only reduces stress levels, but giving staff the opportunity to get involved in a gardening project also provides respite from their desks, much-needed fresh air and a chance to socialise – not to mention the delicious herbs, fruit and vegetables that can be enjoyed by the entire team!
For more advice on building awareness and dealing with stress in the workplace, visit mind.org.uk.Category - Blog