Wellbeing

Balancing stress and recovery

August 26, 2021

Do you really understand the impact that the day-to-day stressors you experience are having on your wellbeing?

There are a few different ways that we can measure our levels of stress and how well we feel we recover. The most common way in the workplace is through structured questionnaires. This approach can help us identify and measure the intensity of emotions that are associated with stress, such as anger, depression or anxiety [1].

However, stress also results in physiological changes within the body such as changes in body temperature, increases in cortisol levels, or changes in Heart Rate Variability (HRV) [2]. The benefit of measuring stress through HRV is that it can be continuous, even when we are sleeping. This is important as it can help us see objectively how much recovery we are getting and the effect this has on the depletion or restoration of our resources.

Workplace stressors have been associated with musculoskeletal pain, gastrointestinal disorders and psychological symptoms of anxiety and depression [3], bringing increases in absenteeism, decreases in productivity [4] and the potential for errors [5].

Assessing the the impact of stress and recovery physiologically as well as subjectively is therefore vitally important, so we can understand where we are right now and make any changes as necessary.

Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessments

Assessing stress using both subjective and objective data, helps to provide a more comprehensive picture and I am delighted to be able to offer my clients a Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment.

With a lifestyle assessment we can see your stress reactions visually throughout the day and the night, along with how much recovery you are actually getting. We can pinpoint moments of stress and help you set meaningful goals to offset them, while looking at how to enhance your recovery so your resources are not depleted.

Fitness is also important for managing stress and sleeping well and a Lifestyle Assessment can accurately estimate your aerobic fitness.

How it Works

The process for conducting a Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment is really simple:

Following a quick 15 minute chat where I will talk you through the process, you will receive your Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment kit in the post. On your chosen day to start the assessment, fill in the required information that you will have received via email link and start to wear your device. It’s not waterproof, so you will need to remove when showering or swimming etc. Throughout the three days, you will complete a journal, briefly outlining your activities for each day. This will help us add context to any higher stress moments. Once the measurement period has ended, you will need to return the device in the postage paid box provided.

For Companies

Lifestyle Assessments are also available for teams or groups within a company. Each individual receives their own measurement and coaching session, while the anonymised group report shows how your team is doing and can highlight areas that may need attention through your organisational wellbeing strategy.

The Lifestyle Assessment has been proven to increase work efficiency and decrease levels of employee stress / sick leave.

What’s the Cost?

A Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment costs £195 + VAT per person.

Like to Learn More?

A Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment is a valuable tool for getting a deeper understanding about stress & recovery. If you would like to sign up for an individual or group assessment, please book a 15 minute chat below.

References

[4] Colligan, T. W., & Higgins, E. M. (2006). Workplace Stress. Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, 21(2), 89–97. https://doi.org/10.1300/j490v21n02_07

[1] ISMA. (2021, August 26). How to Identify Stress | ISMA Stress Management Association. Isma.org.uk. https://isma.org.uk/how-to-identify-stress

[5] Kerr, R., McHugh, M., & McCrory, M. (2009). HSE Management Standards and stress-related work outcomes. Occupational Medicine, 59(8), 574–579. https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqp146

[2] Kim, H.-G., Cheon, E.-J., Bai, D.-S., Lee, Y. H., & Koo, B.-H. (2018). Stress and Heart Rate Variability: A Meta-Analysis and Review of the Literature. Psychiatry Investigation, 15(3), 235–245. https://doi.org/10.30773/pi.2017.08.17

[3] Marcatto, F., Colautti, L., Larese Filon, F., Luis, O., Di Blas, L., Cavallero, C., & Ferrante, D. (2016). Work-related stress risk factors and health outcomes in public sector employees. Safety Science, 89(), 274–278. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2016.07.003

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