Work stress: Managing stress at work

Feeling stressed at work is typically seen as a common occurrence these days, however, we don’t think this should be the case. Stressed employees generally don’t perform to the best of their ability, and businesses lose money from the sick days that employees can need to feel well again. Although stressful or busy periods of work can be healthy to get your brain in gear, being overloaded with work and feeling as though you have nowhere to turn, isn’t. If you continue to feel stressed in your day-to-day life, it can lead to mental and physical illnesses, after a time. We want to help you to feel better within yourself at work, so it doesn’t affect your time out of work.

There are many reasons why people feel stressed at work, from problems at home to an overbearing manager or heavy workload. Feeling stressed and the reactions to stress are different in every individual. Have a look at our top tips to feeling happier and less stressed in the workplace.

Signs you are stressed

It isn’t uncommon for professionals to not recognise their own stress and where it stems from. Stress and anxiety come out in a number of ways, and this is different for everyone. You may be acting completely normally at work, then when you go home you are distant and irritable to your friends and family. Stress can be taken out of your workplace and brought home, without you even realising it. 

If you are irritable, unmotivated at work, tired from lack of sleep or feeling physically poorly, you could be suffering from stress. These symptoms may come over a long period of time and you may not put two-and-two together to realise that work is affecting your mental health.

Six tips to combat workplace stress

A lot of people have experienced feeling stressed in the workplace, but similarly, people don’t know how to deal with it. Recognising when you are feeling stressed, and combatting your concerns to resolve and rectify your negative feelings in the workplace, is important.

  • Take regular breaks: Take short breaks throughout the day. Stepping away from your screen for a few minutes every 1-2 hours can reduce headaches and give your mind time to relax.
  • Reach out to a colleague: Often, people feel lonely at work. They don’t want to burden their family or friends with work issues that they might not understand. Chatting to your colleague about work stresses is a good way to clear your mind and verbally organise your priorities.
  • Take time off work to recuperate: Make sure you use your annual holiday allowance. A day off every 1-2 months can do wonders for your mental health. Winding down is a great way to de-stress.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercising regularly gives your mind some downtime, encourages better sleep and keeps you physically fit at the same time.
  • Get a good night’s sleep: Sleeping properly promotes good mental health. Lack of sleep can cause high stress levels. Furthermore, if you are tired at work you are more likely to make mistakes which can cause more stress later down the line.
  • Get together with your family and friends: Seeing people you don’t work with regularly is good, chatting about everyday life and having fun is a great way to release some of the stress from your working week.

Simple ways to improve your working day

It can be hard to get motivated once stress has taken hold, however, if you take action to feel yourself again, planning your days and weeks can give you the structure you need, not to feel overwhelmed at work.

1. Plan your work with your manager
2. Confirm your responsibilities
3. Keep your organisation in the loop with how you are feeling
4. Write lists
5. Take a full hour lunch break
6. Talk to colleagues during the day
7. Eat a healthy, well-balanced lunch
8. Drink plenty of water throughout the day
Throughout your working life, you are more than likely going to come face-to-face with stressful periods. This is normal, but it isn’t normal to feel stressed regularly, to the point where it affects your work and personal life. For tips on how to better your professional self and your career, have a look at our careers advice section now.

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