Stress: a "worldwide epidemic"

World Health Organisation, 1992

Stress at work

Stressed at work or know someone who is?,
Everyone experiences some degree of stress in the work place at some time during their working lives and could benefit with some desktop stress relief, employment related stress. Some people regard a certain level of stress as a positive thing – it gives them the adrenalin that helps them work productively.

Others, however, struggle to cope at such times, and productivity can suffer as a result – leading only to more work-stress! In such situations, simple techniques that can help relieve stress, such as aromatherapy essential oils for natural aromatherapy stress busting, can be of major benefit.


Aromatherapy and stress - a natural holistic approach

Although there are many ways of relieving stress outside the office, only a few techniques can be used safely in the workplace – allowing you to combat stress at its source. Relaxation techniques, such as exercise and meditation, are often impractical during day-to-day working life. However, one method of natural stress relief that can be used in a work environment is aromatherapy. Many essential oils including Lavender oil are recognised for their natural stress busting effects, and can help with:

  • concentration and focus
  • improve productivity
  • relaxation and rejuvenation
  • mood enhancement.

Image quoting Keyboard errors have been shown to fall by over 50% when the fragrance of lemon is diffused into an office atmosphere giving natural stress relief

To see a table of essential oil profiles showing their uses and effects
Stress Busting oil profiles - click here

The Aroma Stress Buster from Aroma4u, a novel and innovative stress busting aromatherapy diffuser designed specifically for use in the workplace, is small and compact, can be attached to your computer monitor or laptop (and so doesn’t take up desk space or require an electric socket) and releases aroma only into your personal space, providing natural stress relief. It comes with a range of essential oils to serve your tastes and needs, can be easily personalized – its range of colours and messages make it an attractive addition to your working environment for a natural holistic approach to workplace stress.

You spend a lot of time in your place of work – by taking steps to reduce any stress you may encounter, and making your workplace as comfortable as possible, you will increase your own well-being, your productivity and your effectiveness.


Is your job stressful?

Every job has different pressures, but the most stressful have certain characteristics in common, says organisational stress expert Professor Cooper (University of Manchester's Institute of Science and Technology)

They can include jobs where there is a lot of change. Professions like health care and teaching are high risk because they are often treated as political footballs, Professor Cooper says. Other high-risk areas include jobs where there is a lot of downsizing or new technology.

Britain's 20 most stressful jobs*

*Based on research assessing 104 jobs, by Professor Cary Cooper at the University of Manchester's Institute of Science and Technology, in 1997.



What the Law says

In 2002 the Court of Appeal found that employers are not liable for causing stress but may be liable for ill health caused by stress.

  • http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/

Other stress busting approaches to stress relief at work

Essential oils can help to release and relax overworked and stiff muscles.

  1. Do the most you can to ensure you have a healthy, pleasant working environment:
    • Keep a plant or two on your desk (if there is room) or close by
    • Not everyone can sit by a window – if you do then make sure you look out of it once in a while!
    • Use the Aroma Stress Buster to ensure that your personal space is full of pleasing (and stress-relieving) aromas
    • Keep personal possessions (e.g. photos of loved ones) in sight
  2. Take a break - get up and walk around the office. If possible, leave the building and get some fresh air - even 5 minutes away from your desk will refresh you and help you de-stress
  3. Try a few shoulder exercises to relieve tightness in your upper body.


Stress and health

While relatively low level, temporary stress generally does not have a serious long-term impact on our health, high levels of constant stress are now recognized as having a significant detrimental impact on health and productivity. As early as 1992, the World Health Organisation called stress a "worldwide epidemic", and in September 2003 the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported that work-related stress is a serious problem for many organisations (2). About half a million people in the UK were reported to experience work-related stress at a level they believed was making them ill, and up to 5 million people in the UK felt ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ stressed by their work.


Essential oils can be especially effective treatment for stress-related problems and a variety of chronic conditions


In many cases stress-related illnesses are caused by our working conditions, which most of us cannot control. However, employers are now legally required to take action to minimise work related stress which can involve aromatherapy in the workplace. If you are currently experiencing or are managing someone who feels they are experiencing ill health as a result of excess pressure at work, here are some websites offering natural aromatherapy stress busting advice:




Stress management focuses on helping the client to reduce the reaction to stressful situations. Stress management includes a variety of techniques that encourage the clients relaxation and decrease her/his stress hormone levels. Stress management therapists recognise that stress is a natural part of life, but it is when the level of stress exceeds our ability to cope with it that it can affect our health and become a problem (4).

UKtherapy.info is another popular UK website offering stress busting advice with a directory of Stress therapists.
Also the website Stressfocus: Stress Management Technique for teens.
Other links: Strategies for managing stress in the workplace


References
  1. Worwood VA. The Fragrant Mind. London: Bantam Books, 1997.
  2. hse.gov.uk/stress/
  3. The Aromatherapy Trade Council www.a-t-c.org.uk/
  4. UKtherapy www.uktherapy.info

Author: Gary Gummer
Gary Gummer's email: gary [at] aroma4u.co.uk


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