Small steps will help combat stress

We all suffer from stress from time to time and occasionally a little stress can be a good thing. For example, some of us are driven by deadlines because the stress of meeting them helps us focus, get the job done. But, if you have an underlying mental health issue, then stress can make a bad situation worse. April is Stress Awareness month and this year The Stress Management Society has launched the #LittleByLittle campaign to highlight how small, everyday actions can help to combat stress and improve mental well-being. Its Chief De-Stressing Officer, Neil Shah, says: “Much like the single bricks in a sturdy house, each small step towards stress management contributes to a stronger foundation of mental wellbeing.” So, what are these small steps and how big is the problem?

The size of the problem

Here’s a snapshot of how stress is affecting the majority of us:

  • In the UK, 79% of adults experience stress at least once a month, with 74% feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope at some point in the past year.
  • Research from Indeed reveals a concerning trend – 52% of all workers are now battling burnout, marking a 9% increase since before the pandemic.
  • Only 13% of employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health openly at work.

These statistics are concerning for any employer, especially when over half of the UK workforce is battling burnout. But are employers aware? Possibly not as there’s still such a stigma around talking about mental health at work. But stress leads some to adopt coping unhealthy coping strategies that only make the problem worse. So, here’s what The Stress Management Society advises…

Little by little solution

Scientists at the University of California found that just 10 minutes of light exercise a day, such as an evening stroll, can have great benefits for cognitive ability and mood for older people or those with low levels of physical activity. The research highlights that just small steps towards increasing the amount of exercise that you do from zero to just 10 minutes are enough to yield improvements.

The Stress Management Society believes in the Butterfly Effect of Wellbeing – the idea that small changes in one’s routine can set off a ripple effect, leading to transformative outcomes for people. Take, for example, someone who decides to go for a short walk during their lunch break, simply to get out of the office/home office for a while. They might not realise it at first, but this small action sets off a chain reaction of positive effects that extend far beyond a change of scenery.

At Intergas we’re firm believers in going out, not out out, just out for a stroll. Taking a lunchtime stroll is an easy habit to adopt and it has so many benefits when it comes to destressing. It gives you a chance to clear your mind and return to the office/home office feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes your way. Regular walks like these also do wonders for your physical health. They help keep your heart healthy, improve your circulation and reduce the risk of other health problems down the road. So, by making this simple activity part of your routine, you’re not just looking out for your present wellbeing but investing in your future too. On an emotional level, taking a walk also works wonders. Being out in nature, even if it’s just for a short time, can help you stay present and mindful. It’s like hitting pause on all the worries and pressures of the day and just focusing on the beauty around you. This kind of mindfulness can make a huge difference in how you handle stress and navigate tough situations. What might seem like a simple stroll is actually a powerful incentive for positive change.