Five things you can do to minimise stress at work
Wherever you work, you may find there are always moments of stress. Sometimes stress related directly to work, other times stress at work due to problems outside of work. Common reasons for stress at work can include:
- Fear of being made redundant
- More overtime due to staff cutbacks
- Pressure to perform to meet rising expectations but with no increase in job satisfaction
- Pressure to work at optimum levels—all the time!
- Lack of control over how you do your work
If you are experiencing stress in the workplace, we hope you will find these tips helpful.
1. Prepare the night before and start your day off right
Mornings can be incredibly stressful, especially if you have children to get ready and send off to a carer or school. Then there’s the traffic to deal with if you are driving or public transport stresses, disruptions and cancellations.
Preparing breakfast the night before (like making porridge and keeping it in the fridge) can save you some precious time in the morning to maybe go for a morning run or walk, which can do wonders for your mental health.
Starting the day organised, with good nutrition, a good night’s sleep and a positive attitude can massively affect how your day goes.
2. Recognise the signs of stress
Sometimes you will know that you are stressed, but the signs are not always that clear. Stress can affect you emotionally and physically as well as the way you behave. Here are some common signs
- Irritable, aggressive, impatient or wound up
- Anxious, nervous or afraid
- Like your thoughts are racing and you can't switch off
- Unable to enjoy yourself
- Uninterested in life
- Like you've lost your sense of humour
- A sense of dread
- Worried about your health
- Neglected or lonely
3. Reach out and talk about the stress you are feeling
It’s true that a problem shared is a problem halved, so try and share any worries you have with a colleague or friend - don’t bottle things up. The act of talking face-to-face and blowing off steam can help, and remember, all the person has to do is be a good listener. It’s a positive step forward to speak to a colleague or manager. A good manager will listen, support and aid in helping you reduce your stress.
4. Take regular breaks
Many people spend their lunch breaks at their desk if they are office based. But taking breaks and time off from work is vitally important. Not taking a break can cause stress and fatigue, where taking a break is shown to actually boost productivity, work-based engagement, job satisfaction and ability to think creatively or laterally to overcome tasks.
So go, make sure you spend time away from work tasks and perhaps screens. Read a book, make lunch and chat to colleagues or even start a lunchtime walking group. This is especially important if you work from home, as you need to actively create a work space that gets you in the work mindset so that when it’s time to have a break, you are able to separate mentally and physically the work portion of your day.
5. Put things in perspective and don’t let work become your life
It’s common for things that happen at work to affect our home life. You might have received an unpleasant email or had a disagreement with a colleague. At these times it’s important to put things into perspective, and even simply walk away from a situation or screen and take a short bit of time out to reflect. Other things you could do include:
- Take a short amount of time off, a few days to just unwind, relax and switch off to reboot yourself.
- Nurture outside relationships, surround yourself with people in industries unrelated to your work and keep an active social life.
- Develop end of day habits to help you mentally remove yourself from work. Things like, tidying your desk or making a list of what needs to be done the following day can help.
At UIA we have supported Trade Union members for over 130 years by helping them find great value, high quality insurance. We hope you’ve found this blog both useful and informative whether you are a Trade Union member or not.
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