Managing stress at work

Unless you’re very lucky, stress at work is something you’re likely to face at some point in your career. According to research by MIND, the mental health charity, work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives, with one in three people (34%) saying their work life was either very or quite stressful.

Work can be demanding. While short-term stress can help employees perform effectively to meet deadlines, long-term or chronic stress can have serious repercussions. It’s vital to know how to recognise and manage stress.

One of the most common causes of stress is feeling out of control. There are several strategies employees can use to feel back on top of things at these moments:

  1. Get organised: Work smarter, not harder. Use project plans, to-do lists – or any organisational tool that works for you – to prioritise your work and keep your focus on the most important tasks. Turn off distractions and limit multi-tasking, so you can focus on one thing at a time without interruptions.
  2. Establish boundaries: Establish a work/life balance that will work practically for you. Maybe you won’t take work home at all, or maybe you’ll only check work emails once you’ve had a coffee, or time for dinner with your family. Whatever it is, decide on it and stick to it, to ensure you completely unplug each evening and at weekends.
  3. Speak to your manager: If you are really struggling with your workload, make sure you speak to your manager. They will be able to help you prioritise what needs to be done first, help you find more productive ways of working, or reallocate some of your projects if required. They will also refer you to other experts in the business to address specific requirements.
  4. Exercise: Evidence shows that being physically active helps mental wellbeing. If spending hours in the gym isn’t your thing, a brisk walk can help blow off the cobwebs, relieving some of the feelings of stress.
  5. Make healthy choices: Eating healthily and getting enough sleep can make a real difference to how you feel each day. Don’t underestimate how much more energy seven or eight hours of sleep a night can deliver – or the boost you can get from choosing healthy snacks instead of junk food.
  6. Take time to yourself: Whether that’s making the most of your commute by listening to a podcast you enjoy, using meditation apps to help you relax, rediscovering an old hobby, seeing your friends – or something else completely – it’s important to make time for things outside work. These can counteract the effects of stress, leaving you feeling much better.
Evidence shows that being physically active helps mental wellbeing. If spending hours in the gym isn’t your thing, a brisk walk can help blow off the cobwebs, relieving some of the feelings of stress.

If you do find yourself feeling overwhelmed by stress or struggling to cope, make sure you seek support. There are lots of resources available through the Employee Assistance Programme, so speak to HR or visit http://youdrive.enterpriseholdings.com/benefits-c/uk-benefits-resources/

by Alice Hardman

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