An extract from the book ‘Stress proof your business and your life’ written for the clients of Keen Dicey Grover by Steve Pipe and Elisabeth Wilson

“There’s nothing wrong with stress. We are designed to get stressed. It’s how we deal with it that’s the problem. Coping with stress should be simple. My central message to you can be summarised in one sentence. Get stressed- relax.

So why are we facing an epidemic of stress? The answer lies on the way we interpret the word ‘relax’. Remember that stress developed in order for us to deal with danger. When faced with something that scares us (more likely nowadays to be a to-do list running into double figures rather than the sabre-toothed tigers that ate our ancestors), we release adrenaline and this in turn causes the release of noradrenaline and cortisol and these three hormones together sharpen our wits, release energy to our muscles and divert resources from one part of the body to the bits where you need it most. Which is why you feel twitchy when you’re very stressed and can’t sit still. The adrenaline coursing through your body would have been just dandy in helping you cope with the sabre-toothed tiger but is a bit of an over reaction when your boss caught you booking your holiday on the internet rather than working on the sales report. All those hormones get the job done. But rest is essential to repair and recover from their effect.

So what do we do now after a stressful day? We are likeliest to celebrate with alcohol, a cigarette, coffee (all of which trigger another stress response), or even worse, after a stressful situation, we throw ourselves straight into another one. This means our bodies are bathed in stress hormones for far longer than we ever intended.

The body’s hormones work in delicate balance. When the three main stress hormones are fired they affect the levels of others, notably insulin (which regulates sugar levels and energy) and serotonin (the happy hormone which affects mood and sleep). When they go awry over long periods of time, the results can be disastrous for our health, both mental and physical.

Five minutes every hour

See your day not as a purgatory of stress but as lots of small stress responses punctuated with mini-realisation breaks. As a rough rule, every waking hour should have five minutes of pleasure. So after every hour of working, take a few minutes to do something pleasurable – answer an email, stretch your shoulders, have a cup of tea. Can’t leave your desk? Spend a few minutes dreaming of something that makes you happy.

Fifteen minutes a day

Practise active relaxation – listening to music, yoga, dancing. TV is passive and doesn’t count.

Three hours every week

At least three hours every week should be spent doing an activity you love. It should be calming and non-work orientated. I make it a rule that it only counts as my three hours if I can do it without make-up. In other words, it doesn’t count if it involves people that I feel I have to make an effort with.

Why not get started by trying this…

 Next time you are waiting in a queue, or for traffic lights to change or your lift to arrive, see it as an opportunity for a mini-break. Take some deep breaths, feel the tension flow out of your body and your shoulders drop. People who make an effort to do this report being less stressed in a week.”

Here at Keen Dicey Grover, due to our close working relationship with our clients, we make it our business to know their businesses. This helps us to conduct relevant reviews of the business and its performance and take the time to understand the owner’s needs in order to support them and their business.

Our aim is to relieve as much pressure from our clients as possible and we work hard to provide visibility, eliminate the unknown and ensure they feel confident and informed about the status and future of their businesses.

Keen Dicey Grover

We care……………….we really care

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