It’s helpful to learn how to manage stress caused by work. If you often experience feelings of stress, you might be at risk of developing a mental health problem like depression or anxiety.
Stress can also make your existing mental health problems feel worse.
Most people feel stressed sometimes and some people find stress helpful or even motivating. But if stress is affecting your life, there are things you can try that may help.
Support is also available if you’re finding it hard to cope with stress.
Stress can cause many different symptoms. It might affect how you feel physically, mentally and also how you behave.
It’s not always easy to recognise when stress is the reason you’re feeling or acting differently.
headaches or dizziness
muscle tension or pain
chest pain or a faster heartbeat
struggling to make decisions
Changes In behaviour
being irritable and snappy
sleeping too much or too little
eating too much or too little
avoiding certain places or people
drinking or smoking more
If you feel stressed by a certain problem at work, you might not be alone in this.
Many of us may experience these common stressful situations in the workplace. The important thing is understanding how to manage them.
Ask your manager for help. Discuss your workload with your manager, if you have one. Try setting realistic targets and talk about how you can solve the issues you’re having.
Try to balance your time. You might be doing too much at once. If you don’t give each task your full attention, it can take longer. Try to claim your time back if you ever need to work extra hours to get something done.
Reward yourself for achievements. Rather than only focusing on work that needs to be done next, reward yourself for tasks you’ve completed. Your reward could be taking a break to read, doing a puzzle, chatting with co-workers or spending time outside.
Be realistic. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. You might find that you’re being more critical of your own work than you need to be. Work within your limitations and try to be kind to yourself.
Give yourself short breaks. Take these throughout the day, as well as at least half an hour away from your desk at lunch. Spend some time outside if you can.
Take some time off. Try to use any holiday you’re entitled to. If things get too much, a few days off or a long weekend can help you feel refreshed. This can even increase your productivity in the long run.
Focus on your life outside work. Nurture relationships with people you don’t work with. Develop interests and skills that you don’t use in your job. This can help you see the difference between your personal life and your working life.
Develop end-of-day habits. Finish your working day by tidying your workspace or making a to-do list for tomorrow. This can help you switch off from work, especially if you’re working from home.
Find out about services in your workplace. Some organisations have employee assistance programmes (EAPs) which offer free advice and counselling. Others have internal support systems such as mentoring or buddy systems.
Tell someone that you feel unsupported. You should be able to discuss this with your manager. If you feel you can’t talk to them, speak or write to someone else. This could be your human resources department or trade union representative, if you have one.
Develop good relationships with your colleagues. Connecting with people you work with can help build up a network of support. Having connections with co-workers can also make work feel more enjoyable.