Stress. We’ve probably all encountered it at some point in our lives, and it’s more than likely that it’s been caused by work. It’s also becoming more prevalent in today’s society, with increased pressure on people to succeed. In 2017/18, 15.4 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety, according to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which equates to over half of the 26.8 million total working days lost to ill health. Take a look at our top tips on how to manage your stress levels at work and keep your mental health in good shape… Get the right balance Although you spend the majority of your week at work, it’s important to remember your personal life too. Here at First Central, we promote a healthy work/life balance and don’t expect people to work over their contracted hours. Of course, there may be times when you need to put in some extra time to get that report done, but try and leave work on time as much as possible. Most importantly, leave work at work. Don’t log on to your emails in the evening unless absolutely necessary. You need to switch off from the pressures of work occasionally, as when one area of your life weighs you down, it can put pressure on other areas. Keeping a ‘to do’ list is a great way to prioritise tasks. Just make sure it’s a realistic and manageable list, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Crossing off each task when you’ve completed it is also very satisfying! Take regular breaks When your phone won’t stop ringing and you have 200 unread emails, taking a break is probably the last thing on your mind. However, getting away from your desk is vital to staying healthy, even if it’s just to go and speak to someone face to face rather than over email, or fill your water bottle up. Get active Exercising creates hormones called endorphins that help remove toxins from your body. We’re not saying you have to spend a solid hour on the cross-trainer at the gym, just a brisk 10-minute walk will have you reaping the benefits and is something you can fit into your daily routine – whether it’s in your lunch break or on your commute home. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness techniques are also great ways to switch off from the stresses of the day. Sleep When you don’t feel like there are enough hours in the day, sleep can often be the first thing to be cut from the routine. Don’t do it! Sleep is vital in recharging your body’s ‘batteries’, while dreaming helps your mind to let go of all the things you haven’t been able to resolve, meaning you can start fresh the next day and tackle the next set of challenges that come your way. Boost your energy We’ve all been there…that 3pm energy slump when you just want to reach for the chocolate and biscuits is the worst! However, all that does is peak your blood sugar and make you feel worse when the slump kicks in again. Next time, reach for a handful of pulses or seeds as these are rich in protein and will boost your energy for longer. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and try to limit your intake of caffeine and sugar. Here at First Central, we have free fresh fruit deliveries to help our people make healthy choices. Talk to someone If you’re struggling to cope with the pressures of work, it’s important to talk to someone. Ideally this would be your line manager, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, speak to a friend or someone un-related to your work. We have an Employee Assistance Programme that employees can call 24/7 for advice to help them balance everyday life together with the requirements of work and home. Look for a new job No one should feel overwhelmed by their work. If the stresses of your job are getting you down, consider whether making the move to a different company would help ease your anxiety. Take a look at our current vacancies and see if there’s an opportunity for you.