Top tips for reducing our stress levels at work

April is Stress Awareness Month with the aim of increasing public awareness about the causes and cures for the modern stress epidemic.  Millions of us are experiencing high levels of stress and it may be damaging our health.

Since the start of the pandemic 74% of UK adults have reported feeling so stressed at some point that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope (Mental Health Foundation) and 6 in 10 managers have said they experienced burnout over the past year (Benenden Health).

Over the past 12 months with increased demands on employees, uncertainty, a lack of

control, changes in job roles and responsibilities and a decreased level of interaction with work colleagues and managers has increased work-related stress.

Here are some tips you can try to help you manage and reduce stress levels at work:

Create a schedule – try to find a balance between work and home life, build in time for social activities, hobbies, family time and relaxation. By having a plan or schedule for each day will help you stick to more of a balanced life.

Take regular breaks – throughout the day but especially at lunch time when you should try to leave your desk and screen. Spending time outside or doing something you enjoy will help with your productivity as well as your wellbeing.

Establish boundaries – at times we all feel pressure to be online 24/7, constantly checking emails and messages. It is important to have time when you are not working or thinking about work so avoid emails and taking work calls in the evenings or at weekends.

Don’t over-commit – avoid having a diary with back to back meetings or trying to fit too much into one day. Schedule time in between meetings to complete actions and have a break.  Don’t be afraid to ask people to change times/dates of meetings to give you more time to do the important things

Prioritise – sort your tasks between those that are urgent and those that can wait. Focus on completing high priority actions first so you feel a sense of achievement early in the day.

Break projects into manageable steps – focus on breaking work down into smaller tasks that you can tackle one at a time rather than taking everything on at once.

Delegate or ask for help – if you are struggling see where colleagues might be able to help or delegate to others.

Be realistic – setting unrealistic goals or wanting to do everything perfectly can set you up for failure, always do your best but ensure you are realistic.

Think positively – focusing on the negatives in a situation will leave you feeling drained of energy and motivation. Try to think positively about your work, avoid colleagues who are negative and celebrate your successes and achievements that you have.

Focus on what you can control – many things are beyond our control, especially how colleagues might behave. Rather than getting frustrated about what you can’t control, focus your time and energy on what you can control.

Tidy your workspace – working in a cluttered environment might not be good for your wellbeing and can make you feel more stressed. Clear your workspace, getting rid of any clutter and tidying your space at the end of each day will help you start the next day positively

Reach out to your manager – if you are feeling stressed then speak to your manager about what difficult for you and some suggestions for what might help.

Take time off – taking time off work can really help to recharge your batteries and give us new energy and motivation, so where you can take a holiday or some long weekends.

Gemma Carter-Morris – Head of Wellbeing – Next Steps Outplacement

Gemma is a qualified wellbeing coach with over 15 years experience gained primarily within Higher Education.  Gemma uses her coaching and wellbeing experience to support individuals through the outplacement process with a particular focus on them as an individual.