It’s no surprise that everyone suffers from stress at different points in their lives. Whether professionally or personally, stress can be debilitating and can have adverse effects across various parts of your life. However, stress has been around for much longer than the pandemic. A survey commissioned by YouGov in 2018 found that 74% of adults in the UK said they felt ‘overwhelmed or unable to cope’ at some point over the previous 12 months.
According to a recent study by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), work related stress, anxiety or depression in the UK accounted for over half of work related illnesses and 55% of working days lost due to ill health. In fact, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) found that during 2019-2020 there were 17.9 million working days lost due to stress, anxiety or depression.
Some of the biggest causes in the public sector, where it was most prominent, included workload pressures, tight deadlines and a lack of managerial support.
Stress can be caused by anything from money problems and grief to ‘positive stresses’ such as starting a new job or moving house. Even ‘small’ stresses can have big implications.
If you feel stressed within the workplace, at home or if you’re a business leader and want to ensure your teams are able to cope with stress, then it may be time to work with a coach. Here are 5 ways coaching can help with stress:
1.Understanding the triggers
Sometimes we can feel stressed but don’t always know what the cause is. A coach can work with you to understand your triggers so you can identify the problem as it starts. This may include exploring when and how it occurs as well as how you feel when you’re experiencing it.
Many of us only acknowledge stress when it starts to overwhelm us, so this is an important step to prevent it before it becomes a bigger problem.
2. Processing stress
Working with a coach can help you process the emotions that can occur as a result of stress. They will help you to highlight how you feel in stressful situations, what those feelings mean to you, how you interpret them and how you react to them. Stress comes in many shapes and forms and everyone reacts to stress differently from feeling anxious and irritable to feeling sad, angry or frustrated.
It’s important to explore exactly what it means for you, rather than trying to address your stresses by looking at how others around you cope. A coach can help you to process these emotions and come up with mechanisms to manage them that are specific to you and your needs.
3. Creating space
As I mentioned earlier, workload, deadlines and increased pressure are some of the main causes of work related stress. Stress can often be exacerbated when we lack time and resources. Working with a coach allocates time and space to address stress and tackle it head on.
You may only work with a coach for one hour every two weeks, but that one session will make a huge difference to the rest of your time. It’s important to identify stress early, analyse it and come up with solutions to ensure it doesn’t grow into something unmanageable.
You’re probably familiar with the saying, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. It’s important to talk to someone if you’re struggling. Some people are lucky to have a strong support network, others aren’t so lucky. Even with a great support network you may convince yourself not to burden them.
Perhaps they have their own stresses or you feel like your problems and stresses aren’t worthy enough. Although those around you will probably want to help, working with a coach can provide an objective, non-judgemental environment with the space and time allocated just to you. No problem or stress is too small and being able to talk to somebody is crucial.
A coach can also help you to find ways of comfortably and effectively communicating your experience with stress to those who can help ease certain pressures. Whether that’s your partner or your manager, a coach can help ensure you are getting what you need from those who matter.
5. Helping to find a solution
The initial part of working with a coach will be to identify the causes of stress and the emotions and feelings that accompany it. After these have been identified, a coach can help you to find ways of dealing with and coping with stress. They won’t remove the stresses, but they can help you to manage them to help you overcome the tougher times.
It may be ongoing sessions or there may be a shorter acknowledgement of the causes of stress and how to approach them. You and a coach will determine what is necessary for your needs to ensure your life isn’t disrupted by stress.
For businesses, ensuring your team is able to identify problem areas and knowing what you need to do to help alleviate stresses can be invaluable. As seen from the earlier statistics, it can help to prevent getting to the point of burnout. A coaching workshop for your team focussing on coping with stress can be as useful to your business as it is to the individuals that make it.
Don’t sit on your stress. If you want to be able to improve the way you cope with the pressures of everyday life, get in touch to find out how we can work together to make this happen. Similarly, if you’re a business looking to provide strong managerial support through providing a coach for your team, get in touch to find out how I can help.