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Managing change and stress

16 Feb 2021

Things around us are constantly changing and evolving. While we may be able to prevent change in our personal lives, in our working lives it is almost inevitable with new technology and a constant drive for innovation. Likewise, with stress, it is difficult to avoid stressful situations altogether. In fact, a study conducted by Mind, found that “work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives with one in three people (34 per cent) saying their work life was either very or quite stressful” (Mind, 2013).

On top of these daily stressors, it is important to remember that we are not living in ‘normal’ circumstances now. For many of us, this has been a time of great upheaval and worry. Many of us switched to working from home overnight, those with children have them at home 24/7 for periods and we have been prevented from seeing our friends and family. Therefore, it is imperative that we find ways to reduce our stress levels and adapt to the changes that are thrown at us – many of which we have no control over.

Are you hesitant to embrace change?

Some individuals relish change and the new opportunities it brings. However, if this is not you, there are several reasons that you may struggle with change.

1) Uncertainty

We are typically creatures of habit and enjoy the comfort that our habits and routine bring. We quickly settle into routines, even for simple things like the time we eat lunch or whether we put our right sock on before our left. Consequently, a change in routine can leave us feeling unsettled.

There is also the fear of the unknown; you know you can handle things as they are currently, but what if you can’t when the change comes in? What if you do not like your new house when you move in or are not very good at your new job? People would often rather stick with what they know, than try something new, for fear that it could be worse.

2) Defensiveness

If you are happy with how things are, why do they need to change? Being told to change the way you work can spark feelings of defensiveness, since it might be interpreted as criticism of your previous work.

3) Loss of control

You may notice that self-determined change feels safer and more comfortable than suggested or enforced change. When we make the decision to change an aspect of our lives, we have control over it. Take the example of deciding to start exercising at 6pm each evening; you have made the decision, you know the reasons why, and you know that you can go back to your old routine anytime you like. Whereas when you are told to adopt new working hours, this element of control has been removed.

If we are forced to change, we can begin to feel stress and overwhelmed.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to understand, address and manage these feeling. Reed Wellbeing are here to help.

For all the best insight, tips and support, join Reed Wellbeing’s free webinar on Managing change and stress: Supporting you and your team on 24th February

The webinar will be hosted by Rebecca Harris, one of our expert Health & Wellbeing Adviser.