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Workplace Stress: how to manage it

6 Jan 2020
Simone Thompson

Workplace Stress

It’s inevitable that most people, at some point in their career, will feel stressed or under pressure at work. Some people thrive under these conditions, but for others it is far from the ideal working environment. We all spend a significant portion of our lives at our workplace and it should be a healthy and comfortable environment.

Managing stress in the workplace is incredibly important for physical and mental health, so we’ve highlighted a few things you can do to look after yourself when things get stressful.

Understanding your stress factors

The NHS recognises that stress can trigger physical changes to the body designed to help you cope with adverse situations. This can include headaches, increased heart rate, change of appetite and weight loss. You can find out more here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/understanding-stress/

Understanding what causes your stress is key to preventing and managing it. Think about when you’ve felt stress; what triggered it and is there a pattern to when you feel under pressure? i.e. similar situations or tasks. Think about how you organise yourself and your time; one of the quickest solutions to reducing stress is making sure you don’t leave tasks until the deadline is looming. You could try collaborating with co-workers to maximise your resources, and make sure to ask for help when you need it. Planning your workload as much as possible (we understand this isn’t always possible!) will take some pressure off you and, hopefully, reduce your stress. 

Sometimes your stressors are not something you can directly control. If there are external factors at work - issues with management, relationships with colleagues, your skills in relation to your tasks - that are causing you stress it's important to assess how best to remedy this. Hopefully you'll have a supportive manager or HR department you can speak to about any issues you're having, but this isn't always the case. If your workplace is somewhere that makes you unhappy, for whatever reason, and you're not provided with the opportunity to make it better - is it somewhere worth staying? 

Work/ life balance

Your activities outside of work are just as, if not more, important than your nine to five. Exercising or having a hobby that helps you switch off from work is essential to your mental and physical health. Personally, I walk to and from work every day and being able to clear my thoughts helps me focus and avoid distractions. Other people in our offices climb hills and mountains and others travel whenever they can. Creative pursuits such as music, writing, or any kind of art are also fantastic ways of unwinding from a busy or stressful workplace. 

Sleep is also vital to reducing stress. Sleeping for seven to eight hours a day can help to reduce the physical and mental toll that stress takes on your body. The NHS recommends that a good sleep, coupled with healthy eating, is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Learning how to recharge your batteries and relax is very important. Find out more here

Asking for advice

Every company has a responsibility to look after its employees’ health. If your workload is excessive or you’re being given unrealistic deadlines or targets, you should be able to reach out to your manager or the appropriate person in your workplace to explain your situation. Asking for help could alleviate some of the stress you’re feeling. Often companies don’t realise the pressure they’re putting their employees under, which is why it’s important that you voice your concerns. Your company should take your request seriously and act accordingly. If they don’t, it could be time for a change of scenery.

If you think it’s time for a new role and a new challenge, feel free to get in touch and we’ll help you find your dream job. 

Other blogs in our wellness series include:

How to deal with workplace stress

Advice from musicians about happiness at work

How you can, as an employer or employee, change the psychology of the workplace for the better

New year resolutions for your business

How to motivate your team through the January blues

When is it time to change careers?

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