Stress at work

By guest contributor – Jody Woodbridge

Image courtesy of: Helen Lopes

According to the CIPD Health and wellbeing at work 2022 survey report, ‘stress continues to be one of the main causes of short- and long-term absence. With workloads, Covid -related anxiety (such as fear of contagion), non-work factors such as family, relationships, personal illness/health issues and management style are the top reasons for stress.

I used to be a manager, and I’ve seen the effects of stress & anxiety on people, teams and the business. And depending on where you are in the food chain, as a middle manager (like I was), you have it tough.

With pressures from above about targets, absences and employee morale to pressures from your team of targets, absences and employee morale, just in a different way…it’s difficult for everyone.

I’ve only scratched the surface with work-related pressures and not even talked about outside of work; which when you look back at the CIPD Health & Wellbeing at work 2022 survey, there are a lot of external factors.

So what can you do to support your people in the workplace? Read on.

Do you have a well-being strategy?

When I worked as a manager, we didn’t even have a well-being strategy, in fact, the strategy was to pop to HR for an hour, have a cry, a chat and hope that you felt better afterwards.

If you were off ill, wellbeing check-ins were completed by HR, not the line manager. Phased return to work wasn’t an option and there was no gym membership, fancy App, discounts etc. I am talking over ten years ago.

Fast forward to more recent times, and these things are now in place and companies are creating well-being strategies & benefits for their employees. Including free eye tests, flu jabs, stress management training, resilience training, access to counselling services, advice on healthy eating, stopping smoking etc.

But it still feels like something is missing; some counselling services you have to qualify to receive free sessions, and stress management training only goes so far especially if your workloads are unmanageable. You can give out all the free advice you like but ultimately it’s down to the individual to take action on it.

So, what can you offer your employees, where you know they will take action, whilst remembering to include everyone?

Have a think about what well-being practices you can offer during the working day, at break or lunchtime? Or after-work activities that don’t involve going to the pub.

What options do your people have?

It is an extended lunch down at the pub, where they hang out with their colleagues, chat about work, perhaps moan about work and chat even more about work? Or can you offer them a space where they can down tools, switch off, zone out and relax.

We all know, there’s nothing like disconnecting to reconnect, and when you do, you’re refreshed, revitalised & ready to go.

I know some people prefer the noise and chatter, but there are some people in your company who will thank you for the opportunity to disconnect to reconnect. As an introvert empath, this is something I would have loved to have access to when I was in the workplace.

Do you know who your introverts and empaths are?

A solution?

So you’ll probably notice I’ve titled this section, ‘a solution’ instead of THE solution. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that all you need to do is put on a Reiki session a week with me & your teams and all your problems will be fixed; they won’t.

But what I will say, is Reiki forms part of the overall solution. Or you may view it as a tool in your workplace wellbeing package / tool-kit.

It’s like self-care; you can’t expect to go on a spa day once a month and declare, ‘that’s my self-care for the month, that’s all I need!’ No way, self-care and workplace well-being is little and often and, having options; different tools that your people can turn to, not just when they’re feeling stressed, it’s tools to access no matter how they’re feeling.

And Reiki is one of those tools that you can use for stress factors inside AND outside the workplace.

How REKI can help with stress

Stress in the workplace can be triggered in lots of different ways, and what affects one person, may not have the same impact on another.

A little stress can be good for us; you might have experienced days when you’re feeling the pressure but you enjoy it, it’s manageable and you know you can get the work done.

But when things become unmanageable or overwhelming with continued high workloads, poor relationships with teammates or managers, customers, targets, unrealistic expectations from yourself & your manager or diet, and lack of movement; stress becomes a problem.

Jo Plimmer of WATT Coaching explains, “stress triggers the same response in the body which leaves a whole load of adrenaline and cortisol floating around your system causing your blood pressure to rise, your muscles to tense for action, a release of sugar into your bloodstream to give you energy, and your immune system to be on high alert

Now imagine if our bodies are in this constant state of high alert, with no break, no respite to recover and switch off; constantly in a state of fight or flight. What do you think happens to our bodies & minds? We begin to feel anxious, depressed, lose sleep, feel frustrated or get angry quickly with short tempers. Struggle to focus…I’m sure you’ve seen it before either in yourself or a colleague?

Taking time out of your day

And this is where Reiki can support You and your employees.

Taking just thirty minutes out of your day, once a week at lunchtime will give your mind & body the time it needs to switch off and come back into balance.

Reiki promotes relaxation, reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes a positive mental state.

It can clear headaches and reduce feelings of overwhelm, fatigue, stress & depression. It clears the mind, improves focus and boosts mood, and it does this by aiding the body’s natural healing process. It can also reduce the symptoms of peri-menopause which is another major factor to consider for your well-being strategy.

Reiki is a complementary therapy, available to anyone. So don’t just offer it to those that are IN work, offer it to remote teams and your people who are on short & long-term absences.

It’s used to support cancer patients and there’s continued research into connecting Reiki with Medicine.

When we cut ourselves, the cut heals without us having to think about it. Just imagine if we allowed ourselves the time & space to rest & recharge our minds & bodies, what we could achieve?

The ultimate goal for your well-being strategy

If the world was a peaceful place, and we all practiced Reiki I’d like to think that stress & anxiety would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, we’re not quite there, yet.

But the step towards being there is by having an employee well-being strategy in place that includes Reiki. And generally make the working environment a nice place to be.

Now, I know you need more than this; remember the findings from the CIPD report (workloads & management styles) but if you can offer something extra, something different, it might just help them and it might just help you too. After all, employee well-being benefits are for everyone.

Curious to find out more?

If you’d like to bring Reiki into your workplace, why not put the idea out to your employees and book a Group Reiki session with me?

Or, if you’re ready to create a unique employee wellbeing package benefit and include Group Reiki, let’s start a conversation, just drop me an email:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *