More than a third say a colleague has complained about stress but didn’t receive employer support, while Health and Safety reps name stress as a major workplace hazard.
Nearly half (44%) of UK workers know someone who has actually given up work due to stress, according to a new report.
Stress is a normal part of our lives but it is how we cope with it which can lead to significant problems and long-term impact on our health. Here are 10 tips to help to reduce stress.
- Accept that you are feeling under excessive pressure which leads to stress and get help to develop skills to manage your stress.
- Prioritise the tasks you have to do today. Identify the top most urgent and important tasks in the morning (no more than three). Do this each morning as a routine.
- Be aware of any tension in your body especially around your neck, back and shoulders. When you find that you have a lot of tension, identify when it started and was there a person or an event which caused it. This will help to relieve the tension especially if you can avoid the person or situation.
- Stop worrying – when things around you are outwith your control, aim to stop worrying about it. Make a list of what is causing you to worry and then score them from 1 to 5 (1 being you have no control over the worry) and 5 being you have control over what is worrying you. The list for the worries you have control over, look at the list and identify actions you can take to reduce the worry.
- Breathe slowly – when you breathe from your diaphragm it helps you to relax almost right away. To breathe deeply, place your hand on your abdomen. Inhale slowly and watch your hand move out as your stomach expands. Hold the breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly. Repeat several times.
- De-clutter your work space – keep only your essential items on your desk and aim to have a clear desk policy at the end of the day. Work on one job at a time and try not to have lots of piles of papers which makes if difficult to find that one sheet you need to find before a meeting. At least once a month, clean your desk properly including you computer with appropriate cleaner. You will feel so much better when everything is clean and tidy.
- Change negative thoughts with a positive thought. Saying “Nothing ever works out for me,” to “I can try the next time and look at it in a different way”. Other examples are “I can’t manage that” to “I can try the next time and will gain new skills so that I will manage”.
- Taking lunch away from your desk will help so it doesn’t make your desk sticky and it also means that you get away from work which may have been piling up. When you return from lunch, you will feel better and will actually work more efficiently.
- Go for a walk away from your desk and the office or where you work. This will help your circulation and will make you feel much better when you get back. Walk to speak to a colleague rather than emailing them. Try walking meetings rather than sitting round a table. After work go out for a long walk with your dog or even on your own and this will help you focus and be more positive.
- Sleep well – if you go to bed at the same time each night for 2 weeks and then get into a pattern will help you sleep much better. A warm bath can help and if you are worrying at night then put a pad beside your bed and jot your worries or thoughts down so that you don’t need to keep trying to remember all night. Have no television, mobile or electronic gadgets to help you to relax and sleep better.