What is stress?
Everyone reacts differently to stress. But what is stress? It's a state of worry or mental tension that arises in response to a difficult situation. It's a natural state that our bodies go into to cope with life's challenges and possible threats.
A little stress is never harmful to our bodies, as it helps us to cope with certain challenges and daily tasks. However, too much stress can make life difficult: physical or mental health problems, or both, can occur. It is essential to find techniques that allow us to manage stress and cope with the most difficult moments.
Stress management helps us feel less overwhelmed and improves our mental and physical well-being.
The effects of stress on our health
Stress is a normal reaction by our bodies to protect ourselves. It is our body's adaptation to a constantly changing environment.
There are two types of stress: good stress, also known as eustress, and bad stress.
In the category of bad stress, or chronic stress, if it persists, we can develop numerous symptoms that have an impact on our mental and/or physical well-being. Here are some of the symptoms:
- Physical symptoms: problems with sleep, appetite and digestion, feelings of breathlessness or tightness, unusual sweating, cardiovascular disease, etc.
- Emotional symptoms: increased sensitivity and nervousness, crying spells, anxiety, excitement, sadness, general malaise, etc.
- Cognitive symptoms: impaired concentration leading to errors and forgetfulness, difficulty taking initiative or making decisions, etc.
On the other hand, we have good stress, or eustress, which occurs when our body is faced with a one-off threat, such as public speaking, a change of job or an unexpected situation. Once the situation has passed, the stress disappears and its effects fade.
Strategies for managing stress
The first step is to identify the source of the stress. The first step is to identify the source of the stress. This will help you find a solution.
Here is a list of tips that might help:
- Strike a balance between work and leisure. Organise your life so that you don't feel guilty when you're resting and you're not having fun when you should be working.
- A good laugh can help you relax and take the pressure off. So take the time to laugh.
- Make time to nurture your spiritual well-being. Take a few minutes to refocus using relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.
- Exercise helps to release pressure and allows you to think about other things.
- Choose a healthy diet, whether at work or at home. Concentrate on healthy foods. High-fat foods make it harder to cope with stress. Think about healthy snacks and drinks at work.
- Sleep is an essential ally in stress management. Don't hesitate to go to bed earlier when you feel tired.
- Find someone you can talk to about your problems, whether a friend, family member or counsellor.
- Take a break! Sometimes a short weekend away for a change of scenery is just what you need. Get away from the pressure.
What steps can you take as a company?
Here are a few tips to help you help your employees.
- Raise awareness throughout your company: Establishing an anti-stress culture also means raising everyone's awareness. Webinars on this subject are available.
- Prioritise breaks: Encourage your staff to take a break during lunch, away from screens. Encourage moments of relaxation rather than putting pressure on your employees.
- Invest in communication and leadership training: Train your managers, who are closest to your employees, to help them manage stress within their teams.
You now have all the tools you need to take action against stress in your company.