How to reduce stress at work

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Health Assured team

18 September 2023

What is stress?

Stress is something everyone feels at times, especially when dealing with change and life’s challenges. According to the NHS, stress is a natural response to pressure and can be caused by many different factors - money worries, work issues, or relationship problems can be sources of stress.

How we manage stress levels in a rapidly changing working environment can make a big difference to our mental wellbeing and long-term health. Stressful situations can arise when you least expect them so it’s important to understand how to identify the signs and learn how to control them. 

What are the causes of stress?

In the working arena, we are constantly faced with challenging situations that can affect our mental health. If your job demands more than you can deliver, you could be experiencing stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed by deadlines, hitting your targets, low pay, or job insecurity.

Currently, more than 15% of individuals in the UK and Ireland are grappling with signs of a mental health disorder while at work. This equates to one in six employees battling to make it through their workday, possibly in silence.

6 ways to manage stress in the workplace

Calmness in the face of adversity is true mental resilience.” – Dada J. P. Vaswani

Here are 6 ways you could try to help to reduce stress in the workplace. Different techniques work for different people, but these are some ideas you could try to lead a happier and more peaceful life and help mental health in the workplace.

  1. Split up larger tasks

You might feel less stressed if you can split up big tasks into more manageable chunks between your team. Everyone has their own workload but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, you are one person so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do everything. 

  1. Be more active

Being more physically active is known to reduce stress levels and can help you burn off nervous energy. You can cycle to work, join a gym, or simply take regular walks away from your desk - they will all help in calming your mind.

  1. Create quiet time

Stress may be difficult to avoid, but you can take steps to alleviate it when it arrives. Create time for yourself at work where you prefer not to be disturbed. Whether it’s taking ten minutes out for mediation, listening to the Peace of Mind Podcast, or finding a quieter meeting room to focus on your work, you’ll find most employers will support you in looking after your mental health.

  1. Flexible hours or hybrid working

If there was one positive thing about the pandemic, it’s that it created a more dynamic and flexible working landscape where flexible hours, hybrid, and remote working became widely adopted by employers. If you feel five days in the office is too overwhelming for you, then make a request to change your situation. Sometimes, all it takes is an open and honest conversation with your manager.

  1. Implement a morning routine

Having a morning routine will change your life. Stress can often arise if you are rushing into the office, you haven’t eaten any breakfast, or didn’t have time for that all-important coffee. Create a plan to give yourself enough time in the mornings – your mind will thank you for it.

  1. Talk to someone

You can always reach out for help if you think you are struggling at work. Talk to your trusted friends, family, and colleagues to help you through your problems as they may see things from a different and more positive perspective.

Watch our podcast episode with Health Assured's Head of Clinical Support, Kayleigh Frost, speaking to counsellor Kristian Parsons about how stress can impact us in the workplace, the knock-on effect to our mental health and what businesses can do to provide early intervention for stress-related absences.

How to improve mental health at work with an EAP

The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) offered by Health Assured is a valuable resource that enhances your efforts to promote mental health wellness in the workplace.

It’s a complete resource, accessible 24/7 worldwide, with access to compassionate support over the phone, in person, and online. It encourages individuals to take part in healthy behaviours and activities, offering a sensitive helpline and confidential counselling sessions to help people through life’s challenges.

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