Stress is a common workplace experience and is on the rise. According to Statistica, work-related stress is the most common cause, with 79% of UK workers saying they commonly experienced it.
Stress in the workplace is sometimes unavoidable, with most people perceiving a small amount of stress to be normal, with factors like long hours, demanding deadlines, and a never-ending to-do list all playing their part. When this stress becomes unmanageable, it becomes an issue that can lead to problems with your work and your health.
13.7 million working days are lost each year in the UK because of work-related stress, anxiety and depression, costing £28.3 billion yearly (NICE)
60% of 18-24-year-olds and 41% of 25-34 year-olds feel pressured to succeed, versus just 17% of 45-54-year-olds and 6% of those over 55s (Mental Health Foundation and YouGov)
There are strategies you can use to manage and reduce your stress levels, helping you go from being in distress to de-stressed. We have outlined some below
Identify the cause of your stress: The first step to managing stress is identifying the cause. Is it a problematic colleague, a heavy workload, or a lack of support from your boss? Once you know what is causing your stress, you can start to take steps to address it.
Take breaks: Regular breaks throughout the day can help you manage stress. Taking a short walk, stretching exercises or simply closing your eyes and taking deep breaths can help you relax and recharge.
Prioritize your tasks: Break down your to-do list into smaller, more manageable tasks, and prioritize them based on urgency and importance. This will help you feel more in control and reduce your stress levels.
Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and focusing on your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Practising mindfulness can help you manage stress and improve your overall well-being.
Seek support: Don't be afraid to reach out to colleagues, friends or family members for support. Talking to someone about your stress can help you feel less alone and more supported.
Take care of yourself: Take care of yourself by eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular exercise. These practices can help you manage stress and improve your overall well-being.
Set boundaries: Setting boundaries around your work can help you manage stress. This can include setting limits on your working hours, turning off your phone or email notifications outside of work hours, and learning to say no to unreasonable demands.
Remember, stress is a normal part of life, but it doesn't have to control you. By taking steps to manage your stress levels, you can go from being in distress to being de-stressed and improve your overall well-being.
If you're struggling and feel like you need to speak to someone urgently, don't wait, and please contact one of the following organisations.
Samaritans. To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit some branches in person.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). You can call the CALM on 0800 58 58 58
(5 pm–midnight every day) if you are struggling and need to talk. Or, if you prefer not to speak on the phone, you could try the CALM webchat service.
Shout. If you would prefer not to talk but want some mental health support, you could text SHOUT to 85258. Shout offers a confidential 24/7 text service providing support if you are in crisis and need immediate help.