Thomson & Bancks’ Head of Medical Negligence, Lucy Sherry continues her monthly commentary on medical awareness and industry findings with and acknowledgement of National Stress Awareness Day – November 2nd and battling stress at work. Read on for Lucy’s thoughts on work-related stress illness and more.
More and more companies are celebrating bringing out Corporate Social Responsibility, Flexible Working, Home/Life Balance and Unpaid Leave policies. So why are the number suffering from work-related stress illnesses not going down? The HSE’s Labour Force Survey 2014/15 says the estimated number and rate of new cases (740 per 100,000 workers) has remained broadly flat for more than a decade now.
We are hearing in the press that workers are saying they cannot switch off from work or are feeling the effects of stress when dealing with co-workers, particularly in a climate of job instability, longer working hours, higher demands and increasing financial pressures. Perhaps in some sectors the more modern approach by firms to their workforce has not filtered through or perhaps it is because with smart phones, it is very hard now to “turn off” from work even when you are at home, particularly if you are now set up to work from home (the downside of flexible working).
Whatever the reason, stress causes disruption to our personal lives, sleep (which replenishes our immune system) and, in a few, even depression.
Here are some tips to help avoid stress at work:
1 Establish a barrier between work and home life, i.e. do not work at weekends or have a cut off time in the evening.
2 Take regular breaks and always take a lunch break to stretch your legs and/or to eat something and/or to listen to some music.
3 Chair yoga or simple exercises to stop muscles tensing or headaches developing.
4 Eat fresh and well-balanced meals, not packaged food, as these will leave you feeling lethargic.
5 Do not have a TV or electronic devices in the bedroom because it should be a peaceful sanctuary conducive for sleep and blue light stimulates our retinas having the opposite of the desired effect of becoming sleepy in bed.
6 Go to bed on time wherever possible so your body is in a regular routine.
7 Think positively, as often things do not turn out as you would fear, i.e. trying to think of a solution or “park” a problem, rather than dwell upon the problem itself, “mind over matter”.
8 Either learn to say no or talk about a work problem with colleagues or managers.
9 Keep fit, “healthy body, healthy mind”.
10 Drink more water, green tea and less caffeine drinks. This will stop you feeling tired as you become more hydrated and the diuretic effects disrupting your sleep further.
Lucy Sherry, Solicitor-Advocate; Head of Medical Negligence specialises in medical negligence litigation, previously representing the NHS Litigation Authority and one of the GP Unions. Lucy now works with injured individuals and bereaved families to achieve compensation for adverse outcomes. Lucy has a passion for learning and sharing her knowledge, regularly delivering medico-legal training to lawyers, attending many hours of medical lectures each year to keep abreast of changes in treatments, and gaining an insight into new health and medical findings to share with Thomson & Bancks’ clients and visitors to this blog.
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