Stress Awareness Month – Wellbeing Databank

25 April 2024

 

As part of our #FRESHLifestyle and #WeGoFurther initiatives, we understand and support the importance of mental health in and around the workplace, below is a compiled list of wellbeing materials previously accrued for our internal FRESH Newsletter, which we’re happy to release for the betterment of our staff, clients and community.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISE:

 

 

Exercise is important for a number of reasons, including:

Managing stress, anxiety or intrusive thoughts

  • Doing something physical releases cortisol, which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times.

Better sleep

  • By making you feel more tired at the end of the day.

Happier moods

  • Physical activity releases feel-good hormones that make you feel better in yourself and gives you more energy.

For more information, see here.

SMILING:

 

 

Fun fact: smiling is good for you

When you smile at someone, they often smile back. Other than making someone feel good smiling at them (using your whole face – not just the ‘say cheese’ smile for photos) it makes you feel good too, even if you are feeling a bit low.

The technical information is: when you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides to help fight off stress. Then other neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins come into play too. The endorphins act as a mild pain reliever, whereas the serotonin is an antidepressant.

For more information, see here.

 

SLEEP:

 

 

Do you have a problem getting to sleep at times, or waking up in the middle of the night?

In a recent survey of over 2,000 Brits, Eve Sleep found that 79% of us struggle to switch off at bedtime and 60% of us wake up in the night.

Below are some tips that can help, if that includes you:

Routine, Routine, Routine (getting up and going to bed at the same time each day, including on weekends is key to a healthy sleep schedule).

Relax and Unwind (sleep routines start before getting into bed; avoid electronic devices and blue light an hour before bed; reading, listening to soft music or a podcast can help).

Mindfulness (anxiety and stress can affect how well we sleep, try out mindfulness and perhaps mediatation to get to the crux of your worries).

Environment is Key (this is personal and subjective – but in general it’s easier to drop off in a quiet, dark and cool space).

Don‘t Force It (if you can’t sleep, get up and do something relaxing).

Diet & Exercise (avoid stimulants an hour or two before bed, but regular exercise during the day can help increase tiredness levels and promote better sleep).

For more information, see here.

 

DIET:

 

 

The relationship between our diet and our mental health is complex.

However, research shows there is a link between what we eat and how we feel. Eating well (consuming a balanced diet full of vegetables and nutrients) can improve your sense of wellbeing and mood.

Below are some tips from Mental Health Foundation:

Eat Regularly (this can stop your blood sugar level from dropping – which can make you feel tired and bad-tempered).

Stay Hydrated (Even mild dehydration can affect your mood, energy level and ability to concentrate).

Healthy Fats (Your brain needs these fats to keep working well. These are found in foods such as olive and rapeseed oil, nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocados, milk and eggs).

Wholegrain’s, Fruits and Vegetables (they contain the vitamins and minerals your brain and body need to stay well).

Protein (It contains an amino acid that your brain uses to help regulate your mood).

Caffeine (It can cause sleep problems, especially if drunk close to bedtime; some people find it makes the irritable and anxious too).

For more information, see here.

 

ANXIETY:

 

 

Anxiety is a normal emotion in us all, but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem.

We all react differently to situations and lots of things can lead to feelings of anxiety, including exam pressures, stress, relationships and other big life events.

We can also get anxious when it comes to things to do with money and not being able to meet our basic needs, like heating our home or buying food. But anxiety can be made easier to manage. It’s important that we recognise and respond when we feel anxious, so that our anxiety doesn’t become overwhelming.

For more information, see here.

AN APPLE A DAY…

 

 

It’s one of those sayings that has more to it than we may think.

Whilst it might not keep the doctor away, if you click the link and read the article you will see eating an apple a day does have significant health benefits which will make us feel better.

For more information, see here.

 

WORK BREAKS:

 

 

Giving your mind a rest can help you become more focused, more productive, less stressed and boost your creativity. It has been suggested that 3 breaks a day for 10 minutes each (one being lunch) will help. It’s even better if you can get outside and potentially walk round the block, up a side street or round the garden and back!

Research in late 1980s showed workers that took short breaks for up to 3 minutes not only produced more accurate work, but had lower heart rate, suggesting a calming effect. This could be from simply chatting with someone who is in the room with you, like a co-worker or getting a hot drink/water.

On top of taking breaks, regularly looking away from your screen could really improve the health of your eyes. A recent study of almost 800 University students found that periodically refocusing on distant objects reduced symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (eye strain, dry eyes etc). This is because when you stare at screens you blink less and your eyes work harder to focus. Refocusing and taking a break from the screen allows your eye muscles to relax.

For more information, see here.