Wellbeing is a vital factor, that ties in within the HR sector. Recently, we have collaborated with Nicki, from, The Wellbeing People, who offers insight into stress and pressures, alongside advice on how to maintain these feelings.

Here’s Nicki’s in-depth insights –

Nicki Williamson – Founder of The Wellbeing People

We all experience feelings of overwhelm from time to time; work pressures, issues at home and struggles with day to day life can leave us feeling tired, run down and emotional.  Many of us mask these feelings by ‘putting our happy face on’, internalising our thoughts and using negative coping mechanisms such as alcohol, overeating or using drugs. In most cases, these feelings pass, but for some of us, each day can feel like an uphill struggle. 

Pressure is an accepted part of our working lives; pressure to meet a deadline, to attend important meetings, to deliver a project to time and cost.  When we feel under pressure, adrenaline flows through our bodies, keeping us alert, giving us extra energy to help us reach our targets and goals.  Once the goal is met, the level of pressure we put ourselves under should subside but in some cases, this feeling continues and this is where we can find ourselves suffering with stress. 

Stress presents itself in many different forms from the physical – headaches and muscle tension, a racing heart, tight chest or palpitations to the emotional – anger, tears and withdrawal from work or social situations.  It’s a common condition but, when it’s happening to us it can be frightening and therefore we mask the symptoms, which adds to the universal feeling that we’re struggling alone.  The statistics show just how common these feelings are: –

  • 1 in 3 people will experience a mental health condition such as stress anxiety and depression each year.
  • 79% of UK adults say they feel stressed at least one day every month
  • Nearly half (49%) of UK adults admit to feeling stressed for 5 or more days each month
  • Lack of sleep and financial worries were the main causes of stress among UK adults in 2021

So, what happens when you’re feeling this way and you’re still expected to provide leadership and support for your team?  Holding a senior position in a company often makes us feel even less able to accept how we are feeling, concerned that stress implies weakness or an inability to fulfil our role.  Poor mental health can affect anybody at any time.  Many of the clients I work with run highly successful businesses, hold CEO and Director positions and struggle to accept ‘this is happening to them’.  Our seniority doesn’t mean we are comfortable in every situation although, the more we experience these, the more likely we are to become comfortable with them.

Recognising the signs and symptoms is key.  This gives us the opportunity to make the necessary changes which help reduce the symptoms and get ourselves back on track.  When was the last time you ‘checked in’ with how you’re feeling? 

Have you noticed: –

  • Muscle tension or clenching of your jaw
  • Stomach or digestive problems
  • Headaches, dizziness or shaking
  • Increased aches and pains
  • Exhaustion or trouble sleeping
  • Chest pains or racing heart
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Feeling overwhelmed

These symptoms could be a sign we’re suffering with stress and we need to take action to reduce our stress levels. 

The familiar analogy of the oxygen masks on an aeroplane is useful to remember when we’re in a senior position and responsible for others.  You need to put your mask on first, before helping those around you – otherwise you’re not able to effectively support them.  In the same way, you can only effectively support your team if your own mental health is where you want it to be.

So, what can we do when we recognise these signs?  Talking to someone we trust is a good place to start, sharing how we feel helps us to understand our triggers and how we can better manage them.

Other forms of action we could take include: –

  • Taking good care of our bodies – eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising
  • Trying relaxation activities such as meditation, yoga or breathing exercises
  • Accepting we can’t control everything and instead focussing on the things over which we do have influence or control
  • Learning to say ‘no’ to additional responsibilities
  • Staying connected with people who make us feel calm, happy and can provide emotional support

Another good option is to book some time with a wellbeing coach who can teach us the tools and techniques to effectively manage our emotions and reduce the stress in our lives. 

Nicki Williamson is a qualified trainer, hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner and founder of The Wellbeing People Ltd.  With over 25 years’ experience as a senior manager, supporting large teams of people in the corporate world, she has first-hand experience of the challenges we all face in effectively managing people when we may be struggling ourselves.

The Wellbeing People offer an extensive range of services designed to encourage and maintain ongoing positive mental health.  If you would like more information then give Nicki a call on 01485 472074.