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How to Manage Stress in the Workplace

Published on: 15/05/2019

There’s no denying that work can be stressful. While we’re all used to days when we feel under pressure, regular feelings of stress in the workplace can have a significant impact on your mental health. That’s why, to mark Mental Health Awareness Month, we’d like to share some top tips from Mind and the NHS for practising mindfulness and managing stress effectively.


Take Control

No matter what the source of your stress is at work, remember that all problems have a solution. Remaining passive and believing you can’t do anything will only make stress worse. By taking actions to assume control of the situation, you can start finding solutions and building your confidence.


Here are some things the NHS suggest you can do to take control over stressful situations at work:


Work ‘smarter’ by prioritising your work and focusing on the tasks that will make a real difference to your workload (and wellbeing). Be realistic about what you can achieve – and don’t forget to reward yourself for what you do accomplish!


Many people suffer from stress as a result of a poor work-life balance. Take control over this imbalance by taking short breaks throughout the day, taking time off when you think it’s needed, and developing habits that help you switch off from work at the end of your shift (such as making a list of tomorrow’s tasks, or even something as simple as tidying your work area).


Find Your Coping Strategies

Everybody has different ways of coping, and we all respond to and manage stress in different ways. Your current coping strategies might not be working, or they could be impacting your health in other ways. For example, the NHS warn of the adverse effects of smoking or alcohol (common forms of relaxation) on your physical health.


Try exploring different coping strategies to find what works for you. Mind actively recommend practising mindfulness. This is a technique you can learn to pay more attention to your mind, body and surroundings in the present moment. By focusing on the here and now, you can create space between yourself and the thoughts that are causing your stress. This allows you to respond in a calmer, more self-aware way.


Connect & Communicate

You’re not in it alone. Establishing a good support network, both within and outside of the workplace, can be crucial to managing stress.


At work, aim to develop good relationships with your colleagues. This will help you nurture a network of support for when times get stressful, and it will make the day-to-day business of being in the office more enjoyable. If you’re struggling with your workload, don’t be afraid to communicate this to your manager. The resulting discussions can help you set targets, gain perspective or solve any persistent problems.


Aim to find support outside of work as well. Spending time with the people we’re closest to can make it easier to relax (think about how having a good laugh with friends tends to make us forget our worries!). Developing our relationships outside of work also helps us address poor work-life balance.


The NHS also advocate helping others to help forge connections, through volunteering activities or other work in your local community. You’ll be able to put your own problems into perspective when you help people in worse situations, and you’ll reap the positive feelings of doing something good with your time.


In short, you can start to manage stress at work by applying the 3 C’s – taking control over the stressful situation, finding coping strategies that work for you, and connecting with social networks both inside and outside of the workplace.

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