This is the second feature in our Let’s Talk section, our way of supporting staff and their friends and family with their health and wellbeing.

This issue we feature Managing Stress. Sometimes the source of our stress is obvious, such as a looming deadline or unexpected bills, but often it’s a result of many smaller factors. If we’re struggling to shut off, the pressure can build up and take its toll on our lives both at work and at home. Though we can’t control everything that happens to us in life, what we can control is our reaction to the situation.

While stress is usually linked to mental health, you may experience both physical and emotional symptoms. Common signs that you’re experiencing stress include: Headaches, difficulty concentrating, muscle soreness, raised heartrate, irritability and tiredness

Plan ahead – While we can’t predict the future, planning gives us some control over our time.

Give mindfulness a try – Meditation can change the pathways in the brain to reduce anxiety and boost

Keep in touch – A good chat with friends or colleagues helps you process your thoughts.

Stay active – Exercise is a great way to boost your feel good hormones and release tension your mood.

Breathe in for a count of four. Hold your breath for 1…2…3…4. Slowly exhale for a count of four. Hold your breath out for four.

Tap your fingers to your thumb to count along. Repeat for five minutes to help your body relax. 5-minute square breathing for calmness

When it all becomes a bit much, try a simple mindfulness technique to provide some immediate stress relief. The countdown technique can help you ground yourself in the moment and give your brain a break. You can do it wherever you are, just in your head.

Quick Stress Buster

5 Notice FIVE things you see around you.

4 Find FOUR things you can touch

3 Acknowledge THREE things you hear

2 Notice TWO things you can smell

1 Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste

Taking just ten minutes to focus on the present moment can help you to refocus and relax. If you want to learn more, try guided meditation using a free app – such as Headspace for beginners.