What’s the most important thing about your business? Most of us forget it’s US. Checking in with your wellbeing is key to a healthy life but making the time during a manic working day can seem impossible. In the run-up to Mental Health Awareness Week (May 13-19), we share tips from members on how they manage stress.
- “I’m not the calmest person at work (lol) but I’ve been paying attention to this topic for a while. I do a regular meditation every morning – I’ve been meditating for three or four years, and doing it in the morning helps me know how I am.
Based on how I am, I choose what sort of tasks to do for the day. For example, if I’m in a good mood and feel inspired and happy, I do things that require the most creativity. If I’m a bit ‘meh’, I try to start with small or robotic ones (yes there are some even in graphic design!).
Also, keep breathing! Very often I forget to breathe properly, and sort of hold the breath during the day. Also it’s extremely helpful when I have discomfort at work, I take a few minutes’ break to walk outside and breathe. Or just stop talking in the meeting and do it quietly.” Ya-sheng Cheng, Yulife, Work.Life Camden
- “For me, being the founder of a tech company, I always have to work under the fast moving pressure of the tech industry. I find the best way to manage stress is to exercise regularly.I joined the gym last year, and with the help of fellow Reading WL member Louis Garner (lgcoaching.net), not only have I completed the Reading half marathon in March this year, but I have also embedded exercise in my daily routine. The ROI of exercise is way beyond the physical benefit, it has a mental benefit too.Having my guitars in my office space helps too, of course!” Pete Doyle, SocialRetail Group, Work.Life Reading
- “You have to look after yourself in order to get the best out of your job.I think this begins with having a presence of mind, that you are your best asset and without you, you have no future, no job. In light of this, one of the things I’m learning to do is to relax so that I can be the best me. Techniques such as deep breathing, stretch exercises, meditation and mindfulness can help melt away stress.Start by taking a few minutes each day to focus on a simple activity like breathing, walking, stretching or even eating. Be intent on your focusing. The skill of being able to focus purposefully on a single activity without distraction will get stronger with practice and you’ll find that you can apply it to many different aspects of your life. Then you’ll have a clearer mind, purpose and intention. You’ll be a better person for it, for your family and friends, and for your workplace.” Jagoda Rhamie, TCN UK, Work.Life Reading
- “I have a couple of strategies for dealing with stress, depending on the nature of it. For cumulative stress, step 1 is be reflective, ask yourself what can I do to prevent it getting worse? For me, this often involves a combination of meditation (I use the Headspace app), yoga, or some kind of exercise. Then step 2 is make a plan to return to all three of these the next day.If I am experiencing a quick build-up of stress, I try to figure out if the cause is identifiable or not. If identifiable, I play out each scenario to its conclusion, then remind myself ‘what is the worst that can happen?’ and finally I reaffirm it is not actually that bad. If I can’t identify the reason, I clear the calendar, go for a walk or search the soul and try to identify it. Then I repeat the above – play out each scenario to its conclusion, ‘what’s the worst that can happen’ and reaffirm it’s not that bad.” Evangelo Panagi, Freelance Scrum Master, Work.Life Clerkenwell
- “An intense period of sustained stress eventually led me to yoga and meditation. I couldn’t relax, had chronic back issues and a pretty unhealthy diet and lifestyle (too much chocolate and too much wine). At first, the yoga and meditation worked to bring about calm, relaxation and improved my sleep. But with time and consistency, I found a much deeper self-awareness and insight into the root of my specific stresses. I got to know myself a lot better and this has led to wiser and healthier choices in all areas of life. I’m happier and healthier now (and way more flexible).” Faz Chaudhri, Gemini Intelligence Ltd, Work.Life Reading
- “When we’re stressed, our sympathetic nervous system (aka ‘fight or flight’ mode) is activated. A simple way to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, i.e. to chill the heck out, is through breathing – specifically by making our exhale longer than our inhale. For example, this could be breathing in for four counts, then out for eight counts. Even just 10-20 breath cycles like this can make a difference. And bonus points if you can do it outside in nature!” Dani Woods, Soma Restore, Work.Life Reading
- As a freelance photographer my job can be both physical and also quite mentally challenging from a self-doubt point of view as I work on my own.My top tips for stress are:Meditation – this helps me reflect and also brings some inner peace before I start my day.
Yoga – I cannot go on enough about the benefits of this! It helps with physical strength and posture which can be affected when carrying heavy camera kit. However the main benefit like meditation is the calming of the mind and the magic in helping you switch off from all the clutter in your brain.Also, turning my phone on Airplane mode at night so I am not distracted by social media, and taking time out to read.
I have a coach who has helped me enormously. He’s taught me to step outside of myself and not take things so seriously. As a result my output is better. I also doubt myself less. Fran Hales, Freelance Photographer , Work.Life London Fields
The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is Body Image. For more on the campaign, plus resources and advice on a range of issues, visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk.
Member wellbeing is at the heart of Work.Life. We often have free massages, yoga sessions, healthy treats, talks and events. To find out more about our locations click here.