Reduce Your Work Stress & Burnout Risk Using ACT!

Reduce Your Work Stress & Burnout Risk Using ACT!

Work related Stress

  • Reduce Your Work Stress & Burnout Risk Using ACT!

Do you know someone in a high stress job, with difficult hours, systems, customers, colleagues and red tape?

These challenges mean that anyone can be susceptible to burnout, so is there anything we can do to help you to help yourself to lower their stress levels?

As accredited members of The Stress Management Society and Mental Health professionals we can help you to help yourself, to help others. One of the key parts of stress are the psychological effects of working with difficult clients, customers, friends, work colleagues and even family. In particular “stigmatising attitudes” are particularly difficult for those suffering from mental health or addiction issues. If we could decrease these psychological effects for individuals in the work place we could also decrease their stress, and degrees of burnout, resulting in increased performance and motivation.

There has been a number of evidence-based studies comparing the impact of ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy), in using the model in executive coaching and training for work life balance, burnout and stigmatizing attitudes amongst employees and executives.

The ACT intervention significantly reduced stress with one on one follow-up sessions and burnout through group work and seminars. In addition, reductions in sick leave, absenteeism and poor performance significantly exceeded those attained ACT training and coaching.

Studies have showed, amongst those significantly stressed, ACT significantly decreased levels of stress and burnout, and increased general mental health compared to a waiting list control.

The specific ACT intervention the study used was six 2-hour group sessions. The intervention included information about stress and relevant lifestyle factors (e.g. work-life balance, sleep, and exercise), behaviour change strategies, communication and assertiveness skills, and training in ACT techniques for managing stressful thoughts and feelings, values clarification, and mindfulness practice.

In short, the just 12 total hours of intervention covered:

-information about stress, sleep, exercise, behaviour change strategies in communication and assertiveness. ACT skills defusion, acceptance, values focus and mindfulness.

 Here are some stress tips that we use.

Keep in mind that stress isn’t a bad thing.

Stress motivates us to work toward solving our problems. Reframing thoughts to view stress as an acceptable emotion, or as a tool, has been found to reduce many of the negative symptoms associated with it. The goal is to manage stress, not to eliminate it.

Talk about your problems, even if they won’t be solved.

Talking about your stressors—even if you don’t solve them—releases hormones in your body that reduce the negative feelings associated with stress. Time spent talking with friends and loved ones is valuable, even when you have a lot on your plate.

Prioritize your responsibilities.

Focus on completing quick tasks first. Having too many “to-dos” can be stressful, even if none of them are very big. Quickly knocking out the small tasks will clear up your mind to focus on larger responsibilities.

Focus on the basics.

Stress can start a harmful cycle where basic needs are neglected, which leads to more stress. Make a point to focus on your basic needs, such as eating well, keeping a healthy sleep schedule, exercising, and other forms of self-care.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

People who are overinvolved in one aspect of their life often struggle to deal with stress when that area is threatened. Balance your time and energy between several areas, such as your career, family, friendships, and personal hobbies.

Set aside time for yourself.

Personal time usually gets moved to the bottom of the list when things get hectic.

However, when personal time is neglected, everything else tends to suffer. Set aside

time to relax and have fun every day, without interruptions.

Keep things in perspective.

In the heat of the moment, little problems can feel bigger than they are. Take a step back, and think about how important your stressors are in a broader context. Will they matter in a week? In a year? Writing about your stressors will help you develop a healthier perspective.

Stress Awareness Month

Stress Awareness Month

It’s here! April signals Easter, the start of Spring…and of course Stress Awareness Month.

You may have already prepared communications, arranged lunch and learns, and planned activities to maximise the awareness of this important topic.

But if you have been tied up with the new financial year or distracted by the Easter break, there is still time to incorporate some stress-busting and awareness-raising activities in your organisation.

Raise awareness

• Add a banner to the homepage of your company Intranet, or on the front page of a newsletter for Stress Awareness Month. If you do not have time to write content you can simply create links to existing resources such as your company EAP scheme, wellbeing pages or helpful websites such as www.stress.org.uk.

• Ask your managers to talk about Stress Awareness Month in their regular team meetings and encourage employees to share tips and coping mechanisms.

Encourage employees to be more active

• Challenge employees to arrange one standing or walking meeting during the month – this could be a team meeting or one-to-one.

• Bring in a fitness instructor to provide a free group session for staff. Yoga works well for this.

• If you have partnerships or employee benefits with a gym, physio or health centre, request a free trial during the month to encourage more employees to use it.

Get social

• Encourage team lunches or a night out. Alternatively pick a week where employees are encouraged to eat breakfast together – provide smoothies/fruit/cereal as an incentive to get people together.

• Walk the floor and encourage your managers to do the same – a break away from your desk is a de-stressor in itself, and by taking a few minutes to meet and talk to other employees you can brighten their day too.

Pay it forward

• Helping others makes us feel good too. Encourage employees to ‘pay it forward’ this month by inviting someone new for lunch, donating to charity, organise a cake sale, setting up a gratitude jar, simply smiling more or paying a complement to a colleague.

Try something new

They say a change is as good as a rest so try a few spot changes during the month such as:
• Leave some adult colouring sheets and pens on the tables in the staffroom/canteen.
• Move around the furniture in communal areas to encourage people to sit somewhere new.
• Play music in the office or in the staffroom/canteen.
• Dedicate one of the meeting rooms to become a relaxation/meditation room for the month – add beanbags, cushions and low lighting.