How to deal better with workplace stress

However much you enjoy your job, there will be days where it causes stress. Tight deadlines, difficult clients, too much work or not enough – the causes of workplace stress are many and varied but they happen to just about everyone and it’s best to make sure you have a plan in place to deal with them when they do.

Causes of work-related stress

Of course, the real cause of occupational stress is not what you actually experience but how you interpret and respond to that experience.

If being surrounded by small children is your ideal way to spend the day, then working in a nursery could be your dream job. If you love numbers, accountancy might be the way to go. But if these things don’t ‘float your boat’, you would be well advised to look for a different career.
Workplace stress can make you feel very isolated. All your colleagues appear to be coping well, and you feel it’s just you that is struggling, but that may not actually be true.
  • In 2017/18 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work-related ill health cases and 57% of all working days lost due to ill health
  • 59% of adults say they experience workplace stress 
  • Only 9% say they have never experienced it.
With this in mind, you can see that it’s not just you. Many of the people around you are affected by workplace stress, even if on the surface everything seems fine. Sometimes just realising this is helpful, and sometimes you need to do a bit more.

Solutions for Workplace Stress

Any general stress management techniques outlined on this blog site will help you, but there are a few specific things that can help you reduce stress from work. These include:

  • Ensuring you have a support network
  • Learning to recognize what you can let go of and what you need to do something about
  • Making sure you have a good work-life balance
  • Getting help if you need it
Who should be in your support network?

The right supporters help you stay grounded and relax, even when times are stressful.

Your support network could be drawn from friends, family, or even your co-workers because they can offer different kinds of support.

Friends and family can help you stay connected with things you do outside of work – hobbies, fun and relaxation. It’s important not to let this go when you’re stressed because it helps you ‘recharge your batteries’ and ‘let your hair down’. They can also listen to how you’re feeling and offer the right kind of support because they love you and know you best.

Colleagues understand what pressures are on you at work, because they’re experiencing them too, and sometimes (for example, if parts of your work need to be kept confidential) they can listen or offer practical suggestions when family can’t. 

When can you let things go?

This is something only you can decide because it will depend on your job and the kind of stress you’re experiencing. But I’m sure you’ve come across the Serenity prayer in some context or other:

Please grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

This is a really good guideline for workplace stress (as well as many other things). Trying to change something that is not in your power to change will only make you more stressed. If you can learn to accept some things and take a more relaxed attitude, you will feel less stressed. Stress cuts off the thinking brain and when you’re feeling better you are more creative, inspired and energized. Being more relaxed will also help clear your mind to think of better ways of approaching those things that might be improvable.

A good work-life balance

If work takes over, it’s difficult to cope.  Just a few minutes a day to do something you enjoy – read a book, watch TV, go for a walk etc will help you feel better. Check out our other article giving you ten different ways to improve your work-life balance. HERE

Getting help

We talk more about mental health issues than we used to be it can still be a taboo subject, especially in some workplaces. But don’t be afraid of asking for help if you need it, especially if your work stress is creating difficulties in all areas of your life, or if you have physical or emotional symptoms that are making you feel unwell.

Your HR department might be helpful but, if you prefer to keep things out of the workplace, your GP or a therapist can help you put better coping strategies in place.


Author: is a professional stress management coach, specialising in working with individuals and smaller employers to minimise stress and maximise feeling in control. Debbie is the author of Their Worlds, Your Words and has co-written the Hypnotherapy Handbook both of which are available from Amazon.
Find out more about Debbie's services on  or phone 01977 678593

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