On Stress Awareness Day, we look at some ways that stress at work can be managed
Don’t stay silent
If your workload is too overwhelming, talk to your manager or a colleague. Explain to them why you’re struggling, especially if the problem is out of your control. This helps to keep the people around you informed, which in itself should relieve some pressure. A manager or colleague may be able to offer a solution that you hadn’t thought of, or even take some of your workload off your shoulders.
Take breaks and try to relax
Stress slows down and distorts the cognitive functions of the brain. This has a direct impact on productivity and quality of work. While it may seem that you have no time to take breaks, not taking them can actually be counterproductive. Even just a few five minute breaks taken between tasks, or after working for a certain amount of time can help to keep your brain alert. Use this time to look away from your work, (particularly if you use a screen), get up, stretch and move and also make sure you are snacking healthily and keeping hydrated.
After an intense or particularly stressful workload is finished, try to take some proper time to recuperate. For example, if a job has taken weeks to complete and has been particularly stressful, consider taking the minimum of a long weekend off. This way, you will have something to look forward too whilst you are doing the work and a great way to wind down before starting a new project.
Try to get outside
Even if it’s a quick, brisk walk around the block during your lunch break, a change of scenery and some fresh air can help to calm you down and refresh your brain. Exercise is a great stress reliever and it also releases endorphins which improve mood. If you can’t get outside, try to leave your desk and walk about the building, use the stairs instead of the lift and even consider parking your car further away from the entrance of the building.
Try not to take work home with you
Don’t check your emails after you leave the office, unless it’s company policy. When at home, try to spend some time on yourself. A nutritious meal, a soothing bath or shower and a herbal tea or decaffeinated hot drink can all help you to unwind. Try to end screen time from devices and TV at least an hour before you intend to go to sleep. In this time, you could escape into a book, meditate or write your emotions down in a journal. The NHS also has a list of apps that they recommend in order to help with a range of mental health issues, including stress and anxiety.