Since April is officially Stress Awareness Month, we want to take this opportunity to highlight the struggles individuals go through with stress relating to their employment and the workplace and offer some practical suggestions on how to reduce this pressure.

An image showing a person with their head in their hands due to stress in the workplace.

Common Causes of Workplace Stress

Unfortunately, stress is unavoidable and there are endless reasons and triggers that cause people to stress with some of the main triggers relating to a person’s employment. In fact, a survey by the American Psychological Association found that one of the five factors most often cited as a source of stress was work. Triggers for stress in the workplace include problems with workload, lack of support in the workplace and difficulty balancing work-life and home-life.

An image listing the five most common sources of stress; Money, Work, Family, Economic Outlook and Relationships

Stress Related Illness

While stress is a normal part of everyday life, it’s important to be aware of the dangers that unmanaged stress can cause so that we can spot the signs as early as possible meaning that action can be taken before serious stress related illness occurs.

Prolonged stress can cause a wide range of issues. It can affect people cognitively, emotionally, physically and behaviourally and if remained unchecked, can seriously influence a person’s wellbeing. Therefore, make sure to take these steps to help cope with stressful situations that arise:

Practice Meditation

An image showing someone meditating by a laptop to reduce stress

One of the most effective ways to deal with stress is to learn how to silence the mind, meditation helps you block out any stressful thoughts and achieve inner peace. There are hundreds of apps that you can make beneficial use of that offer many meditation routines, breathing techniques and sleep strategies that can improve your mental wellbeing. Some of the most popular apps include Insight Timer, Breethe and Headspace which all offer effective solutions to manage stress, whatever your circumstance or budget. Alternatively, there are just as many websites out there that offer the same tools, making it really easy to find a calming solution that works best for you wherever you are.

Find out what works for you

An image showing a person squeezing a stress ball to reduce workplace stress.

Everyone’s methods of coping can differ, find out what methods calm you down the most effectively and remember to deploy those methods as soon as you start to feel stress building. Why not use some of the mobile apps previously mentioned or websites that provide calming exercises? As another example, if you own an Apple Watch, make use of the Breathe app that is provided to you which guides you through breathing exercises that help to calm you down. This is a great tool for people at work as it is quick and easy to do, meaning that you can do it while sat at your desk.

Exercise

An image showing someone tying their shoelaces ready for exercise

Looking after your physical health also looks after your mental health. Whether it’s cycling, jogging or going for a walk, make sure exercise is part of your daily routine. To add to this, why not get other people involved? Ask a friend to join you for a morning run and you never know, it could develop into a full workout routine! Plus, this will not only reduce your stress and improve your mental health, but it will also strengthen your friend’s mental health too. Doing this will also provide a great opportunity to spend some quality time with a buddy, allowing you to perhaps catch up with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Increase Your Knowledge of Stress

An image showing someone researching and writing notes in their journal to increase their awareness of stress in the workplace

Understanding stress and the many ways it can impact you makes it easier to think of ways to combat it. Researching people’s experiences and coping methods can ensure you are ready for when stress decides to strike. If you want to increase your knowledge of this subject, the Mind website is a great place to start, it contains helpful information as well as informative blogs centred around a wide range of topics. Follow this link to reach their homepage – https://www.mind.org.uk/

Reducing Stress in the Workplace

It’s extremely important that employees are not affected by stress during work. Nobody is immune to it, however, there are things that can be done to reduce the risk of stress overwhelming you and your colleagues:

  • Make sure you have regular short breaks – If pressure starts to build up, step away from your desk or workstation for five minutes to give you some time to calm down. Spending time outside can really help
  • Tell someone how you are feeling – Letting someone know will allow them to provide you with much needed support. Talking to someone you trust is also a good opportunity to get things off your chest
  • Organise your time effectively – Make use of diaries and calendars to plan your workload so that you are not doing everything at once. Also, a well-planned schedule will reduce the risk of overbooking and can allow for tasks to be moved around easily, mitigating pressure caused by deadlines
  • Make effective use of your holiday entitlement – Booking time off allows you to rest and recharge so that you come back to work feeling refreshed and energized, increasing your productivity. Additionally, some time away from work can give you the opportunity to research and practice stress coping mechanisms, ensuring that you will be ready for whatever stress work throws at you