Spotting the signs of stress

In this blog, we take a look at the importance for recruitment business leaders to spot the signs of stress.


Two recent events got me thinking about mental health and the importance for recruitment business leaders to spot the signs of stress.

The first was World Mental Health Day on Monday October 10, which had the theme of making mental health and wellbeing a global priority. The day served as a reminder to us all on the need to talk about things and to seek help if we are struggling.

I find this particularly pertinent at the moment as the holiday season has made way for autumn, meaning longer evenings which can have a negative effect on our mood. The build up to Christmas can also be an incredibly stressful time, due to financial and family pressures.

Elite Leaders workshop

A couple of weeks earlier I attended a workshop organised by Elite Leaders, a recruitment networking group. The programme is designed specifically for ambitious recruitment leaders who are ready to take their business to the next level by developing their sales and leadership skills.

The theme for the day was “stress release” and the speaker was best-selling author Nikki Owen. Her incredible story began when she hit puberty and suddenly become very violent, with frequent episodes of self-harming.

She recalled how she had her stomach pumped 27 times as she fell into a spiral of self-loathing and anger. Nikki made two attempts to burn down the family home, the second, at the age of 18, resulted in a criminal charge of attempting to kill her mother.

After a failed suicide attempt in Holloway Prison, Nikki was classified as “insane” and a “danger to society”. Psychiatrists recommended a life sentence in Broadmoor, the hospital for the criminally insane.

Fortunately, her father found a psychiatrist and medical specialist in hormone imbalances who diagnosed a severe lack of progesterone resulting in extreme premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Her condition was transformed by a programme of prescribed drugs. In court, her condition was used as a legal defence and the judge set her free.

Spotting the signs of stress

These days Nikki dedicates her life to supporting others with emotional wellbeing. Her workshop with Elite Leaders covered the following areas:

  • The physical, mental and emotional signs of stress. For example, a lack of sleep, digestive problems and feelings of frustration, loneliness and depression.
  • The stress curve – this shows how some stress can result in high productivity, but there are dangers when demands become too much.
  • How stress can affect those around us. Even when we think we are coping, your energy levels impact others, potentially damaging relationships.
  • How to spot the signs of stress in others, such as behaviour changes and a lack of interest in socialising.
  • Breathing technique to help reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety. This should be done regularly as part of a daily routine.

Being a business owner is a fruitful enterprise and brings many people joy, but you also have to deal with a significant amount of stress. The responsibility and non-stop nature of running a business can lead to prolonged periods of stress.

Surrounding yourself with an excellent support network is a good way to manage stress levels. As much as you want to do everything yourself, it’s often impossible. The most successful entrepreneurs have a team of people and a network that supports them.

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