Monday, 16 January 2017

Guest Blog - Four steps to reduce stress at work

Almost all jobs have some element of stress – even if you love your role! Reducing work related stress is very important as over time it can be harmful to physical and emotional health.
The Health and Safety Executive define work related stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work’ – the key element of this definition is the phrase ‘excessive pressures’. Taking control of ‘pressures’ can help reduce and even irradiate stress.

We’ve put together 4 steps which can help you take back control:

1. Identify & Embrace your stress

A range of work issues can cause stress – for some it can be an excessive workload and for others lack of progression may be the problem. Whatever your issue – embracing it can be a solution!
It may sound silly but research by Stanford Psychology Assistant Professor Alia Crum shows that the way we view stress can affect how we react to it. For example, viewing stress negatively can cause us to take negative actions – like drinking alcohol. Instead her research shows that taking a positive view on work place stress can encourage us to take actions which can help – like speaking to a manager or developing healthy coping strategies.

2. Communicate with your co-workers

Do you speak to co-workers or are you a lone wolf? Friendly conversation with co-workers can help you feel more relaxed and focussed at work. Speaking to people in your office will help create a team atmosphere – at the end of the day you should all be working towards the same goal.
Sometimes workplace stress can be made worst if you feel isolated. Take part in office socials and try to make friends – you might find someone at work has the same hobbies as you do. Speaking to workmates can also help you understand more about your role and help you answer questions you worry about.

3. Get organised

Keeping a handwritten to-do list may seem like a dated piece of advice, but it can provide you with a positive, clear list of tasks to complete. A clear list of tasks in your own words can help reduce stress and the feeling of no control.
Ask your manager for help prioritising a large workload. Often the stress we feel is due to not knowing where to start. By keeping your list in a priority order you will feel more in control and will be less likely to panic. Cross tasks off your list as you go; seeing progress will help you stay calm and will help you feel more positive.
Keeping your desk organised can also reduce stress. A busy desk can lead to lost documents or missed memos. Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter says “Clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.” Never feeling ‘finished’ can cause unneeded stress, so be organised and tidy up!

4. Do more for you!

By scheduling breaks throughout your workday, you give yourself a chance to get up and forget about your tasks for a few minutes; go for a walk, stretch your legs, do whatever you find most beneficial. By scheduling these breaks, Austin Paley says that you train yourself to prepare for a “brain reset”, which makes you more productive throughout the day.
Do you constantly check your emails over the weekend? If so, you are in what Henrik Edberg calls “the grey zone”; this is where you are in work mode during times to unwind. Finding the balance between work and leisure is crucial. If you must check your emails during the weekend, limit it to once every 24 hours.
Edberg says it perfectly: “Few things will relieve stress and energize you like an activity you love doing”. Your day-to-day activities, routine and mind-set play a huge role in your stress levels so it’s important to do what makes you happy – whatever it is make sure you find time to do it.


Article produced by (OHS) is UK-based and specialises in offering, via our partner Cardinus, a wide range of e-learning courses for small and medium enterprises.

1 comment:

  1. The main problem with stress, if I may, is that people don't understand the source of where stress actually comes from. As exampled by this text in the well-meaning post above, "A range of work issues can cause stress - for some it can be an excessive workload and for others lack of progression may be the problem."

    Stress does NOT come from excessive workload, or a lack of progression, or even a demanding boss - that's quite literlly impossible. Stress ONLY comes from thoughts about these things.

    This is a subtle distinction, but understanding it changes everything, it really does, and it leads to a more-or-less stress-free life. (Especially when you realise that you don't have to have the same thought about something today that you had yesterday.)

    Here's a quote and a video that pretty much says the same thing:

    "Remember that stress doesn't come from what's going on in your life. It comes from your thoughts about what's going on in your life."
    -- Andrew J. Bernstein

    Steve M Nash