Psychotherapist and Success Coach, Catherine Asta Labbett gives us her advice on how to improve your health and wellbeing in the workplace.
It can leave us feeling out of control and highly anxious. Sustained and prolonged exposure to stress can cause a whole number of physical and emotional symptoms.
Stress makes us tense, little things become big things, and it's those little things that start to become hard to manage. Stress lowers our ability to cope with life and when we are feeling stressed and having to deal with the curve balls that life throws at us, it can lead us to start seeing the world as a dangerous place.
For all these reasons, a situation that is normally manageable becomes really stressful when it occurs in the context of other ongoing stress. Stress can have a massive impact on your day to day life - both physically and emotionally. Stress can affect your job, your relationship, your health and your overall well being. I see women regularly in my clinic who are exhausted – they aren't sleeping, they aren't eating, they're suffering from panic attacks, they are self-medicating with caffeine and alcohol - they are on the edge of the cliff and if something doesn't change, they are dangerously close to falling off
Here are my 5 TOP TIPS to reducing stress in your life.
These are things you can do as an individual but also things that you could talk to your employer about in terms of helping champion and facilitate reducing stress and contributing to improving health and wellbeing in your workplace...
Get the basics right. Get out for a run, sweat it out, go for a walk, swim, cycle to work, do a lunchtime yoga session. Exercise reduces the body's stress hormones and triggers the release of endorphin’s (your body's natural anti-depressant). Reduce the stimulants i.e. your caffeine and alcohol consumption. Eat a balanced and healthy diet and don't underestimate the power of a good night's sleep. Unleash the power of the 'nap attack' - it's self care in action and napping literally bathes your brain in serotonin, which is the magic stuff that helps improve your mood and sparkle.
Identify the stressor’s in your life. Stress can come from a whole host of places. Sometimes life hits us with BIG curve balls that knock us for six, other times it's a combination of small, but sustained curve balls, which, over time wear us down. Change, increased responsibility, illness, death, divorce, debt, moving house, redundancy, feeling stuck or under sustained pressure and spinning lots of plates are all stress provoking curve balls. Working out what's contributing to your stress levels is the first part of the jigsaw puzzle. Once you know the stressor’s it becomes much easier then to work out a plan of attack to reduce them.
Become a self-care superstar. Taking time out to come up for air is really important. When your mind is full, it's hard to relax, so have a think about the things that make you feel relaxed and nourished and pop them down on paper. Whether it's a long hot soak in the bath, binge watching Netflix or reading a trashy magazine - allow yourself to do these things as and when you need to do them (and without the guilt). Make time to carve out time for you. Time for head space. Time to think. Time to silence the noise in your head. Time to just be you. It needs to become part of your daily routine.
Connect. We are social beings and feeling isolated can make us feel disconnected. Don't underestimate the power of conversation and talking. Feeling connected and part of a community/team/organisation can have a massive impact on your emotional health and well being. Lean in and surround yourself with people who inspire and motivate you. Make time in your day to connect, not just digitally, but in real life.
Incorporate the art of 'slow weekending' which is about recognising that yes, your Monday-Friday is full on, and that actually, what you need more than anything are for your weekends to be at a slower pace. Try switching off your devices, disconnecting from social media and re-connecting with your life. Don't over plan things. Don't feel under pressure to have to 'do things' and 'go places'. Discover the art of doing nothing. Create time in your weekend to enjoy cooking and eating a meal, having a work out that might involve an invigorating swim or relaxing spa afterwards. Time with friends to have a coffee and watch the world go by in your favourite café. Savour your time, enjoy the delights that life has to offer and be mindful of your down time and how you are spending it.
Catherine Asta Labbett is a Psychotherapist + Success Coach supporting women on their journey to DISCO BALL Sparkle and is also the Director + Founder of
Girl Tribe Gang
Catherine works with women all over the UK and beyond in person and via Facetime/Skype from her clinic base in Ilkley, Yorkshire.
Recently featured on BBC Business, CNN Money and as an expert contributor in the Telegraph, Grazia and LIVE on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Radio Tees.