Work related stress is on the increase. In the last few years it has overtaken musculoskeletal injuries in reasons for sickness absence.
How can we help ourselves to try and reduce the effects of workplace stress?We need to start thinking about ourselves, and 'applying our own oxygen mask before assisting others'. If we reach burnout we are no good to ourselves, our families or our patients.
Here are some ideas to build on:
- Take your breaks - this is important 'recharge' time. You don't expect to run your car with no fuel, you can't run your body on empty either.
- Take up a new hobby, or restart an old one that you have let slide.
- Go for a walk on your days off, meet up with friends for a walk.
- Set yourself a target and stick to it. It may be to read for 10 minutes every other day, and you will gradually find that time will increase.
- Treat yourself to a coffee in a cafe, take your book - if you make a coffee at home it invariably goes cold as we are 'busy doing jobs'.
- Treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure or even a massage.
- Make and spend quality time with family and friends.
RCN's Healthy Workplace, Healthy You' campaign
The RCN 'Healthy Workplace, Healthy You' campaign was launched last year. It has been recognised by many organisations as providing a positive toolkit to ensure that workplaces are healthier places to work. It encourages organisations to have Psychological Wellbeing or Stress Management policies. These policies should contain stress risk assessments centred around the HSE Stress Management Standards; Demand, Control, Support, Relationships, Role, and Change.
These are the standards the HSE feel that are most likely to contribute the most to stress. If we work through these domains when completing a stress risk assessment, we can identify the causes.
This should be completed with our line managers, and then action plans formulated to tackle the issues together.
Human resources and occupational health can also be involved in providing support. Some organisations offer a free confidential counselling service, and don't forget the RCN provides access to a free confidential counselling service.
The RCN has also recently revised its 'Stress and You' guidance.