National Stress Awareness Day – How to Cope with Stress in the Workplace

Written by Zoe Cresswell
Last updated Thursday November 11 2021

Stress is a feeling we all experience at some point, and it’s not always easy to cope with. It can be caused by many things such as work, home life or even just day-to-day tasks that seem impossible. And when you’re stressed, the last thing you want to do is go back to the task that made you stress out in the first place!

The good news is there are plenty of ways to feel better and reduce your stress levels without having to make any significant changes. This article will discuss how stress affects us physically and mentally, why people get stressed at work and what steps you can take if you feel overwhelmed by your workload. 

What is Stress?

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. It is the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure in certain circumstances.  

Negatives of stress  

While some stress can increase productivity, too much stress can affect our mood, body, and relationships, particularly if it feels out of control. Stress can make us feel anxious, irritable and lower our self-esteem. If you experience a lot of stress over a long period can lead to mental, physical and emotional exhaustion.  

Coping with stress at work 

1. Split up big tasks

If you have a big task to complete, try breaking it down into several small tasks. Having one large project can seem overwhelming, leading us to procrastinate or avoid the task altogether, making things worse. So, break your workload into more manageable chunks that are easier to deal with emotionally as well as physically. 

2. Take some time out

Take a break from work after lunch or during your coffee break to help you feel refreshed and ready to take on the afternoon ahead of you. Finding a quiet place where you can gather your thoughts could benefit you. You may find that having taken some time to clear your head, the task in front of you is a lot less daunting and seems more manageable. 

3. Take some deep breaths

If someone is stressed, one of the first things we tell them is “just take a breath”. Breathing can be very calming, and it’s scientifically proven that taking deep breaths lowers blood pressure and heart rate and reduces stress. 

4. Think about the positives

What are you good at? What do you enjoy about your job? What have you already achieved today, this week or in the last month? We all have different skills and qualities that make us unique. Take the time to think about what these positive things are concerning your work. Maybe it’s something small or insignificant but if this is getting lost under pressure, remind yourself of how great you’re doing! 

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you think your stress is becoming too much, don’t be afraid to speak up and let someone know how you’re feeling. Your employer will have a duty of care towards you, so if they find out that one of their employees is suffering from high levels of stress in the workplace, they should take the correct steps to help you. 

6. Talk to someone about it

Sometimes we can feel like no one else is experiencing the same problems as us and that nobody would understand or believe what we’re going through. So, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to your boss about how stressed you are, then try speaking with a colleague instead who may be able to help. 

7. Plan ahead  

If you have a busy week coming up, give yourself enough time to prepare for it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about the tasks ahead of you, use your lunch break or free moments during the day to plan out how best to tackle each task and write down what needs doing so that when work is hectic, this can be easily referred back to. 

 If you’re struggling at work and are looking for extra support, visit our Help and advice page to be directed to further resources or contact us for more information. 

Last Updated: Thursday November 11 2021

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