Diary of stress at work

October 19, 2009 | Filed Under Life in the office |

before_work_after_workWorkplace stress is a myth, claims a recent report by the Institute of Directors, which says workers blame the office for everything that’s wrong in their lives.

But yesterday a new report suggested the opposite – and warned bosses could be sued if they dismiss complaints of stress as mere “whingeing”.

Whatever the truth, for most of us the issue is not whether stress exists but who suffers the most – those at the top or the bottom of the ladder?

Four people in a thriving London business, from the chairman to the office assistant, monitored their heart rate throughout a typical working day.

If the average healthy heart rate is 72 beats a minute – and anything over 100 can be damaging – what did their “stress diaries” tell us?

Expert Belinda Linden, cardiac nurse adviser for The British Heart Foundation, gave her verdict and rated their overall stress levels out of 10.

Example 1: The chairman

Rory Steer, 44, is the founder and chairman of the Freeplay Energy Group in Conduit Street , W1, which develops and sells self-sufficient energy gadgets, such as the wind-up radio. He is married and lives in St James’s.

His hour-by-hour diary: 6am:

Watched TV business news – nothing happening to affect us today. 65

8am: Business breakfast with potential distributor. Talks on sales percentages tricky, but we reach a compromise. 110

9.30am: Board meeting about to start, so check emails. Distracted by executives popping in and out, including the finance director asking if we should chase a late payer. Of course we should. 82

11.35am: During board meeting colleague advises that our “new generation radio” project “can’t move any quicker”. Very frustrated. 112

1pm: I’m starving. Surely someone should have arranged lunch. 80

1.30pm: Eating prawn sandwiches and fruit between calls. Need to return calls but can’t get hold of anyone. Irritated. 84 3pm:

Ask Debby for minutes of board report, thought she’d have typed them by now. 93

5.30pm: Dash to the airport through London traffic to catch flight to South Africa to attend the World Economics Forum in Durban. Being driven, so not too stressed. 90

7pm: Board flight, sort out board report and read FT. 68

The expert’s view: “Rory thrives on challenge and success, but his heart rate reflects the demanding moments of his day, including a tricky business breakfast and a meeting where he could not achieve what he wanted.

“Each was frustrating for Rory because he had little control over them, but a few simple relaxation methods could have helped to control his heart rate better and reduce his demands on Debby.

“He needs to find more balance, to make time for exercise and relaxation.”

Workplace stress rating: “He thrives on stress, but doesn’t handle it well when he feels out of control.” 7/10

Example 2: The chairman’s PA

Debby Coltman, 38, is Rory’s PA. She is single and lives in Hounslow, Middlesex.

Her hour-by-hour diary:

7am: Woke up to an extremely high reading. Must be because there’s a board meeting. 155

9.28am: At office, set up the boardroom. Urgently need photocopying from Carey, ask her to hurry up. 89

11.40am: In meeting Rory isn’t happy, he looks agitated and is talking very fast. 108

1.05pm: Rory is restless, waiting to eat. Carey is in charge of lunches, wish she’d get a move on. 85

1.30pm: Have to get out for a brisk walk. 102

2pm: Rory asks for the first draft of the board report to be ready before he leaves for the airport, so am typing frantically. 75

3.02pm: Rory asks for board report. I can type fast, but not that fast. 92

5pm: Last-minute rush to get Rory to the airport. Have to make sure his papers/tickets/ passport are sorted. Everyone clamouring to speak to him before he leaves. 93

6pm: Leave for evening at the theatre and dinner with a friend. 68

The expert’s view: “Debby’s challenge is Rory. She feels she keeps calm but her heart rate rises in response to demands from Rory.”

Workplace stress rating: “Debby is feeding off Rory’s anxieties and her heart rate is too high in the morning – where her boss’s is normal. At least she’s trying to switch off after work.” 8/10

Example 3: Operations director

Vivian Blick, 40, is married with two children and lives in Gloucestershire. He is taking a more laid-back approach to life since having a minor heart attack four months ago.

His hour-by-hour diary:

6.30am: Stayed overnight at hotel as we have an early board meeting. 70

6.35am: Irritated because hotel shower door is broken and the floor is all wet. 100

7.30am: Walk to the office, about a mile at brisk pace. 77

8am: Hot and bothered, shouldn’t have walked. 113

9.30am: Wondering how long board meeting will take as need to make calls. 70

11.30am: Rory wants new project to move quickly, but tests need to be completed to meet standards. 90

2pm: Tired, drink a can of Red Bull. 75

2.45pm: Discuss increasing distribution to meet targets. It’s a big challenge due to competitive market, but I am confident. 78

3.30pm: Excuse myself from one meeting to jump in a cab and rush to another. 85

7pm: Dinner at great Chinese restaurant. Enjoy delicious aromatic crispy duck with glass of red wine. 70

11.35pm: Go to bed, feeling relaxed. 65

The expert’s view: “Vivian is taking things easier since his heart attack. His heart rate increases on fewer occasions than his colleagues do. He dealt well with the pressure of the board meeting, but drinking Red Bull isn’t the ideal way to deal with feeling tired. He regrets walking to the office in the morning, but exercise is positive.”

Workplace stress verdict: “He’s doing well to avoid another heart attack by taking a calm approach to the job.” 6/10

Example 4: The office assistant

Carey Myers, 26, is single and shares a house in Golders Green.

Her hour-by-hour diary:

7am: Wake up to a high reading. 150

7.22am:. Need to get ready but my housemate is in the shower. 110

8.40am: Hate the Tube: it’s hot and busy and I am late. 106

9.25am: Debby asked for photocopying for the meeting. Oops! No paper in copier, no paper in cupboard. Should have done it yesterday. 103

11.15am: Liaise with PR agency about product photography. 75

12.59pm: Suddenly asked to organise sandwiches for the board meeting as they overran. Feel under pressure. 98

1.18pm: Go back for more money and buy myself a sandwich but have to eat while typing. 94

5.15pm: Have to wait for urgent call from Vivian. Where on earth is he? 97

6pm: At last, I am off. 101

8pm: Relax at last. Eat and watch TV. 60

The expert’s verdict: “Carey’s heart rate reflects that she is the most stressed of the team. This bears out evidence that the person who has least control appears to have a greater risk of coronary heart disease.”

Workplace stress rating: “Carey needs to make time for exercise and take breaks in the day. She could keep a supply of healthy food, such as fruit, for colleagues to snack on. If everyone else’s blood-sugar levels are maintained, they will be less irritable.”9/10

Hello there ! - We offer Corporate office massage in London. We specialise in on-site massage in the office, accupressure massage, seated accupressure, chair massage, head and neck massage and stress management massage. Achieve relaxation in the office with the help of our therapists - Relaxed workplace

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    Body Work and Stress Reduction

    October 10, 2009 | Filed Under Front_Page_News |

    belly-exerciseCan one hour a week of therapy, massage and/or foot reflexology lower your blood pressure, decrease your risk of cancer, improve your cardio-vascular efficiency, decrease depression, increase energy and help you sleep better? The answer is YES to all of the above.

    Stress and stress-related diseases are increasing in our modern day culture. “The leading causes of mortality in industrialized nations have shifted from the infectious illnesses that were prevalent at the beginning of this century to the chronic and lifestyle-related illnesses now accounting for the majority of deaths”.

    In the UK, stress causes workers to miss an average of 10 days on the job each year. Stress affects everyone and stress disorders are based upon a slow and developmental accumulation of psychological and physical stress responses throughout the life of the individual.

    Potentially, one of the most negative results of excessive levels of stress is the effect on immune responses.

    The effects of stress are physical. The voluntary nervous system sends messages to your muscles to fight or flee. In response to this immediate tension in your body, the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary body functions, will prepare you by sending extra blood to your muscles. It will also slow digestion, mental clarity and some organ functions. There are also hormonal responses that produce many hypersensitive effects on the body. In essence, your body becomes a machine preparing for attack and shutting down many vital organ functions you need to maintain health.

    Most individuals have a difficult time recognizing stress in the body until it becomes an obvious problem such as: severe backache, chronic indigestion, headaches, constant colds, lack of energy and often depression. When it reaches the stage of physical and mental imbalances, it has become a problem.

    Bodywork is a major factor in helping us to identify where the stress is located in the body.
    Body work will not only identify the stress holding patterns, it will educate the body in returning to balance before it becomes a major physical problem.

    Research has shown that body work:

    - Helps appropriate movement of fluids through the system including lymph, blood in the arteries and veins, glandular secretions and removal of toxic waste

    - Increases muscle response such as elasticity of connective tissue, diminishes muscle fatigue, and increases muscle energy

    - Restores vital organ function including respiration and circulation

    - Increases neural activity benefiting both the central and peripheral nervous systems

    - Increases the balance in reflex patterns

    - Restores general balance to stress overload

    Body work restores our coping mechanisms and allows for physical and emotional balance to occur before it becomes a major problem.

    Each individual is a unique and complex interaction of body, mind and spirit. “Illness can best be understood as a disturbance within the dynamic balance of these relationships. The state of health exists when these elements function in harmony.”
    Bodywork, which promotes this harmony, is not just a luxury, but should be a significant part of our integrative approach to health and wellness.

    Hello there ! - We offer Corporate office massage in London. We specialise in on-site massage in the office, accupressure massage, seated accupressure, chair massage, head and neck massage and stress management massage. Achieve relaxation in the office with the help of our therapists - Relaxed workplace

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    Energy balance massage

    October 1, 2009 | Filed Under Treatments |

    What is it?
    In order for us to be healthy we must balance our body, mind, emotions and spirit. Which means we need to take care of our bodies (watch what we put into them and how we use them), have positive mental beliefs and attitudes about ourselves and life and a connection with spirit. When these 3 things are balanced so are we, when they are not they can cause illness or dis-ease. Energy balance massage works on the illness (blocks in energy that flows through us) to remove it and have a smooth flow of the energy.

    What does the therapist do ?
    You can receive the massage in a seated position or lying on a couch. The treatment is given by the practitioner placing their hands on various places on your body. Healing energy moves through the healer, allowing the free flow of energy to be channeled to you. Energy has a way of naturally flowing to the area where it is most needed and therefore every treatment will be different.

    How does it feel and benefits of the treatment

    Energy balance massage has several basic effects: it brings about deep relaxation, destroys energy blockages, detoxifies the system, provides new vitality in the form of healing universal life energy, and increases the vibrational frequency of the body. The massage can help boost the immune system, release toxins from the body, encourage good circulation and digestion, calm the mind and emotions and restore harmony and balance to the whole being.

    How long does it last ?
    You can book session from 15mins to an hour. If you do this regularly a 15mins session is a good start.

    What do people say about it ?
    Persons receiving this massage report differing effects, such as increased warmth, cold, or tingling sensations. Whatever the individual’s experience, the general beneficial effect of the treatment is the same. You should feel relaxed and restored and have a greater feeling of well-being.

    Hello there ! - We offer Corporate office massage in London. We specialise in on-site massage in the office, accupressure massage, seated accupressure, chair massage, head and neck massage and stress management massage. Achieve relaxation in the office with the help of our therapists - Relaxed workplace

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