- Work-related stress and tension can harm your mental and physical wellbeing
- Stress can manifest in many different ways
- Mindfulness, yoga and meditation can help to manage stress and bring multiple benefits to your work and personal life
A 2019 study by Australian mental health non-profit organisation, Superfriend, found more than half of the Australian workforce has experienced a mental health condition, two in five of those workers reported their workplace negatively contributed to their condition, and 23.4% of financial and insurance service professionals consider their job to be highly stressful. 1
During her time as a corporate accountant, Camille Woods CA noticed this trend among her colleagues and is unsurprised by the figure. Determined to become part of the solution, Camille founded corporate yoga and meditation business Monday Mind in 2015. Since then, she has helped hundreds of Australian office workers manage sources of work-related stress to live happier, more fulfilling lives.
The importance of mental wellbeing
As a former corporate accountant, Camille is familiar with the unique challenges financial professionals face on a daily basis.
“Everyone handles stress a little differently. Some quit their roles and abandoned a career they had been pursuing for a lifetime, which is really sad. For others, stress begins to leak into their personal lives and causes problems at home,” Camille says.
Looking at work-related stress at a national level, government-funded organisation Health Direct estimates sick days and productivity loss related to workplace mental health issues costs Australian businesses more than $10 billion every year. 2 While Camille notes it’s important to address mental health issues to prevent financial loss, she also sees the benefits of a healthy mind and body on a much more personal level.
“Just as stress manifests in different ways for different people, so do the benefits of managing it. I’ve seen my clients rediscover their sense of purpose and fulfilment, get better sleep, eat better, and strengthen personal relationships,” Camille says.
Forget stressors with mindfulness
Camille believes mindfulness is a great way of shifting your focus away from sources of stress. Mindfulness focuses your thoughts on the present and helps you to accept what you find and feel.
“Just as stress manifests in different ways for different people, so do the benefits of managing it.”
“For example, you might be on your lunch break and worrying about the consequences of a mistake you made earlier that day. Being mindful in this moment would be focusing on the sandwich you’re eating, or the sounds you can hear. Do this in order to stop your stressors occupying your thoughts,” Camille says.
“Without those feelings of stress and anxiety weighing you down, you can feel much better and get on with your day,” she says.
Expand your comfort zone with yoga
Beyond improving strength and flexibility, Camille has seen yoga benefit her clients in an unexpected way. It has helped them become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
“Even if you are a regular at yoga, it’s always a stretch putting your body in those positions. But what I’ve noticed is that yoga expands your comfort zone, because you become familiar with facing challenges. And because yoga is also about breathing exercises that calm and focus your mind, it’s a workout as well as a ‘work in’,” Camille says.
Focus your mind with meditation
When practicing meditation, Camille reminds us that it comes in many different forms and looks different for everyone.
“Meditation is simply focusing your mind and connecting back to your true self, and the best part is that people often do it without realising. Even day-dreaming is meditation because your mind is in a calm, undistracted state, and you’re completely immersed in the moment,” she says.
“Over time you can find meditation helps you reconnect with yourself, your purpose and essentially find joy and fulfilment in all aspects of your life, not just your job. This can do wonders for your mental wellbeing,” Camille says.
The impact these exercises can have on lives continues to amaze Camille, and highlights the benefits of being healthy, inside and out.
“Helping a client achieve their goal is so satisfying. I’ll never forget one client who was in between jobs and struggling a little bit with confidence. He started practicing mindfulness and began meditating in the bathroom before interviews. Soon after he landed his dream role. That really speaks to the power of these strategies to calibrate before a challenge.”
If you need someone to talk to, visit the CA ANZ Wellbeing page for mental health resources and information.