Monday, 25 June 2012

Dealing with stress ~ live online help

This is a sponsored post

Stress. It's something many of us are familiar with, and it's an increasing problem in the workplace with many people taking time off work with it. 

A certain amount of stress can be good for us, although I think it would be better described as positive pressure rather than stress. Some people (and that includes me) need a certain amount of pressure to get things done - a deadline that pushes them to finish the task.

Stress, however, is a different animal. Stress is when we take on too much or, for different reasons, are unable to cope and the side-effects, such as headaches, insomnia, exhaustion, depression and impaired judgement, can be at best difficult and at worst completely debilitating.

I've had some very stressful times in my life when things have been too much for me, and I've struggled to cope. Many years ago I had a job that involved daily deadlines and although I thrived on the 'rush' of meeting the deadlines everyday, after a while I started to notice that I was getting pains across my shoulders, bad headaches and I developed a rash on my face and neck. Not long after those initial symptoms appeared, I had a complete physical breakdown - I was taken to hospital with exhaustion and had to take 6 weeks off work.

I was lucky because I was paid for the time off, but there's plenty of people who don't get paid for sick leave. So, dealing with stress is something we need to be aware of and noticing the early warning signs can help us to look for ways to change the amount of stress in our lives. For me, I know that things are getting too stressful when I feel that tingling feeling across my shoulders although trying to address the causes of the stress isn't always as straightforward.

Half a million people in the UK believe work-related stress is affecting their health so it’s no surprise that many of us are so aware of it  - which is why AXA PPP healthcare is putting its’ expert health knowledge to good in a dedicated online health clinic on stress. Anyone with questions on stress or the  effect it can have on the body can get their questions answered live on the day. Here are the details:

• Dr Mark Winwood, the clinical director for psychological health for AXA PPP healthcare’s specialist Health Service division will be providing live support for anyone with questions on stress from 1pm – 3.30pm on Thursday the 28th of June.

• This online clinic will primarily focus on stress and its effects on the body. Left unaddressed, stress and anxiety can negatively affect our mental and physical health.

• Once the live chat is over, participants can continue to find good online resources on stress on the be healthy section of the AXA PPP website, here and here.

• Anyone who can’t make it to AXA PPP’s web discussion on Thursday 28 June can get in touch through Facebook or Twitter, and AXA PPP will get back to them with a response from Dr Winwood a few days after the online clinic ends.

I intend asking a question of my own: I'd like to know what's the best way to deal with the first signs of stress. We all have to deal with stressful situations in life, but what's the best way to stop it developing into something we can no longer deal with?