The week of work stress will be from 13 to 16 November this year. What are some useful things to pay attention to during this period?
How does stress develop and what effect does it have on your body? What causes stress? These are important questions to discuss. Recognising the signals of stress is essential for changing the circumstances that cause it. Making this subject open for discussion can provide room for social support from colleagues and/or the manager. People who have experienced a burnout often say that they had been experiencing complaints for a long time prior to burning out. When do you raise the alarm?
Everyone deals with work-related stress in a different way: one loses himself in sports, another calls his best friend and yet another pauses endlessly hoping to gain more control over the situation. Which ways of coping are more useful than others and how can you arm your body against stress? A healthy body can tolerate more stress and helps combat stress in various ways. Sufficient exercise, sleep and healthy food therefore contribute to effective stress management. In addition, there are many other dials you can turn, such as the job content, employment opportunities, or the inclusion of mindfulness in your routine.
The Netherlands is becoming older. This is mostly because of the increase in life expectancy of the recent years and the decrease of 50% in the number of children born in a family since the sixties and seventies. With the increase in the number of senior citizens, the demand for care increases and so does the number of informal carers. This is seldom easy for the informal carer, as they will be subjected to extra burdens in addition to the burdens that their own life offers. What do you, as a carer, have to take care of in order to not become overwhelmed with responsibility?
The (negative) effects of informal care on the informal carer correlate with the amount of time spent on it. Especially for informal carers who offer a lot of physical support (compared to more emotional or functional support) the effects are clearly visible. These effects can vary from mental health complaints to chronic illness. For example, the extra stress caused by informal care may lead to appetite loss, sleep complaints, a feeling of tension, headache, gloominess or general fatigue. When this stress is combined with reduced recovery possibilities and/or existing stress due to work, private conflicts, etc., this can eventually even result in a burnout. This is an exhaustion reaction of the body, often requiring long-term recovery.
The best way to prevent stress is to stay alert to its signals. These signals occur when there is more demand than can be given: an imbalance between capacity and workload. There are indeed ways to increase capacity. A healthy body – healthy, varied food, physical activity and sufficient sleep – helps your body cope with stress better. Additionally, recovery options can be considered. For example, try to plan moments for relaxation. Social support also helps against stress. Talk to friends or colleagues about what you’re dealing with. This way you will see that you are not alone. You give care, but you can also get some care yourself.
You hear it more often nowadays: sitting is bad for you. What are the repercussions of sitting too long? Can you do something about it?
Repercussions of sitting
Indeed, sedentary work has been shown to increase the risk of harmful health effects. For example, spending a lot of time sitting down is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases. This was found in some studies, regardless of whether individuals had 150 minutes of moderately intensive exercise per week, as the Dutch Norm Gezond Bewegen (Healthy Exercise Standard) describes. This means that excessive sitting behaviour can have negative consequences, regardless of whether you exercise a lot or not. On the other hand, physical exertion is indeed essential for good health.
Sitting too much can cause a so-called ‘boreout’; a burnout caused by boredom. The human body needs movement to function well and healthily for a long period of time. The health effects of physical activity have been unmistakably shown. On average, people who are physically active live longer. This applies both to people who are already active and to people who become more active. It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer (bowel and breast cancer). Exercise reduces blood pressure, improves insulin sensitivity and plays a major role in managing a healthy weight. A healthy weight and body composition can reduce health complaints.
We often see companies trying to get employees to exercise in order to reduce absenteeism. Is that really effective? And how does it actually work?
It is well known that exercise benefits your health and reduces risk and duration of chronic diseases, such as hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. But movement can also improve the quality and duration of sleep and reduce anxiety and negative moods like depression. People who exercise more feel more active in the morning.
Influence on stress
Exercise helps the body to deal with stress in various ways. We see that exercise not only reduces the amount of stress, but also the harmful effects of stress, such as less involvement and feelings of depression. It helps the body to recover better from stress and it gives the body more means to cope better in the future. Of course, it also offers distraction and thus prevents you from worrying.
On the job
Making your employees exercise is not always easy. Many know that it’s good for them, but not everyone does it yet. However, not much exercise is needed to experience all the benefits of it. It is important that the type of exercise is something that the employee enjoys doing: maintaining an exercise routine that they don’t enjoy can cause loss of motivation and more stress. The exercise should be of decent intensity and cause the heart rate and breathing to rise slightly.