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Let’s face it: almost everyone has felt stressed at work at some point. Perhaps you had too much to do or pushed yourself too hard. Whatever the cause, the consequences can be serious, especially if the stress is persistent and prolonged. Ongoing stress can cause anxiety and depression, which can increase the risk of physical conditions such as heart disease, as well as affecting your mental health. It’s therefore important to have coping strategies that reduce the impact and intensity of stress.
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, here is our guide to dialling down stress at work.
1. Don’t suffer in silence
Want help? Ask for it. Everyone needs a hand sometimes and there’s no shame in explaining you need support. If your workload’s too high or if your job requirements aren’t clear, your manager needs to know. Nothing will change if no one knows there’s a problem.
2. Foster team harmony
Problematic relationships at work can be the source of tremendous stress. It’s therefore wise to avoid conflict with colleagues if you can. After all, you have to spend a significant amount of your time with your team every day. Try your best to build positive links so you can enjoy work and feel supported.
3. Be organised
Disorganised and constantly jumping from task to task? It’s no wonder that you feel stressed. Although it may not come naturally, staying organised can pay huge dividends. When you make an effort to plan ahead, you’ll find it’s a weight off your mind. These days, there are lots of helpful apps online to help you manage your time.
4. Aim for balance
Love your job? Fantastic! But it shouldn’t take over the rest of your life. It’s important to maintain a balance and enjoy time outside of work. Everyone needs to unwind in their own way and focus on other things, whether that’s friends, family, hobbies – or the latest Netflix series.
5. Look after yourself
When you’re well and healthy, your body is more likely to cope with stress. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time in the gym. Just eat a balanced diet, stay active and try to get enough sleep. There are plenty of wellbeing apps available to help you monitor your health.
6. Take time out
Whether it’s a walk at lunch time or five minutes away from the computer, try to incorporate breaks into your day where you can. Just a couple minutes can be enough to help you relax and see stressful situations in a different light. Take deep breaths to calm down if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Technology has revolutionised the way we work. But unfortunately, it’s also meant that workers can be bombarded with emails even when they’re at home. Do your best to disconnect from the world of work when you’re not there. If something’s really, really urgent, wouldn’t they call you instead?
8. Get away
Did you know that only 50% of UK workers take their full annual leave?1 Some people worry that they’ll fall behind, while others are unable to disconnect. But by not taking holiday, workers raise their risk of burning out through constant stress and pressure. In fact, a refreshing break can actually increase your productivity and lower stress as well.
9. Keep some perspective
There’s nothing wrong with feeling motivated, but if you have a perfectionist streak, keep an eye on it. Placing pressure on yourself to perform at impossible levels is an invitation to stress and eventual burn out. Strive to do your best but be realistic about what can be achieved – and don’t forget to congratulate yourself and your team before you move onto the next task or project.
10. Use the support that’s on offer
Got a problem that’s causing stress at work? Many organisations have systems in place to help employees in this situation. Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) are common and usually include access to a trained counsellor via a free, confidential phone line. Other organisations may have ‘buddies’ or mentors available to provide advice and support. And don’t forget that HR and trade unions may also be able to help. Find out what assistance is available and make use of it.
People come in all shapes and sizes and react to stress in different ways. If unaddressed, stress can take a heavy toll on mental health. At Green Park, we believe that everyone should have the right to thrive in an inclusive environment. And we’re committed to nurturing diverse talent in businesses worldwide including our own. After all, studies have shown that a more diverse workforce improves company culture, boosts innovation, and enhances financial performance. To find out more, contact our Diversity, Inclusion, Culture & Ethics consultancy.
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