Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, but when it comes to the workplace, it can often be overwhelming. In fact, work-related stress is the most common cause of stress, with a staggering 79% of people admitting they frequently experience it in the UK. 
To address this growing issue and spread awareness, the International Stress Management Association set up National Stress Awareness Day. This day reminds us to take a step back, evaluate our stress levels, and learn how to manage them effectively. 
 

The Importance of Recognising Work-Related Stress 

Work-related stress is a pervasive problem that affects countless individuals across the UK. If left unaddressed, it can lead to burnout, which can take years to resolve. Recognising the signs of work-related stress is the first step towards a healthier, more balanced work-life situation. 

Signs of Work-Related Stress: 

Feeling anxious or on edge: Persistent feelings of unease or nervousness. 
Low mood: Sustained periods of feeling down or depressed. 
Feeling demotivated: A lack of enthusiasm or motivation for work. 
Being impatient and irritable: Easily irritated and impatient with colleagues and tasks. 
Indecision: Struggling to make decisions and feeling overwhelmed by choices. 
Unable to switch off: An inability to disconnect from work even during personal time. 
Brain fog / bad memory: Difficulty concentrating, poor memory recall. 
Racing thoughts: A constant stream of anxious or racing thoughts. 
Restlessness: The feeling of being constantly on edge and unable to relax. 
Muscle tension and jaw clenching: Physical tension and jaw clenching, can also lead to headaches and discomfort. 
Trouble sleeping: Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restful sleep. 
Shallow breathing / hyper-ventilating: Breathing rapidly or taking shallow breaths due to anxiety. 

How to Beat Work-Related Stress 

What You Can Do As An Employee 

Spot the Signs: The first step in managing stress is recognising the signs. Self-awareness is key. 
 
Speak to a Colleague: Sharing your feelings with a colleague can help alleviate stress. They may offer valuable advice or simply lend a sympathetic ear. 
 
Speak to Your Employer: Employers should be willing to support their employees in managing stress. Open communication can lead to necessary adjustments or accommodations. 
 
Speak to Friends and Family: Personal support networks are invaluable. Share your concerns with loved ones to gain emotional support. 
 
Ensure You're Looking After Your Physical Health: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep are fundamental for stress management. Reduce caffeine and sugar intake, as they make stress and anxiety worse. 
 
Deep Breathing: Practice deep-breathing exercises to calm your mind and body during stressful moments. 
woman in conversation
Tackle Issues in Bitesize Chunks (Pomodoro Technique): Break tasks into smaller, more manageable segments to prevent feeling overwhelmed. Read our post on the Pomodoro Technique for improving productivity and focus here. 
Pomodoro technique infographic
Create a To-Do List: Write down your tasks for the day and cross them off as you complete them. It provides a sense of accomplishment. 
 
Take Regular Breaks: Incorporate breaks into your workday. Going for a walk during lunchtime can reduce cortisol and adrenaline levels while boosting endorphins, natural mood lifters. 
 
Mindfulness and Meditation: These practices can help you stay present and reduce stress by being in the moment. 
 
Journaling: Keeping a journal can help you express your thoughts and feelings, promoting self-reflection and emotional release. 
 
Get Creative: Engage in creative activities as a form of stress relief. Art, music, or crafting can be therapeutic. 

What You Can Do As An Employer 

To do list
Speak to Your Employees: As an employer, open and honest communication with your employees is paramount. 
 
Actively engage in conversations with them, and make sure they know you are approachable and genuinely concerned about their wellbeing. 
 
Listen to their concerns and be ready to offer support. 
 
Ask the Right Questions: When engaging in discussions with your employees about stress, it's essential to ask the right questions. 
 
Instead of vague inquiries, ask specific questions about their workload, working conditions, and how they're coping. 
 
For example, inquire about the challenges they face, the support they need, or any obstacles hindering their productivity and wellbeing. 
 
Check Workloads Are Reasonable: Regularly assess and monitor the workloads of your employees. 
 
Ensure that their tasks and responsibilities are reasonable and manageable within standard working hours. 
 
Avoid overburdening them with excessive workloads, unrealistic deadlines, or an excessive number of tasks. 
 
Assess whether your employees have the necessary resources, tools, and support to complete their work efficiently and without undue stress. 
 
Respect Employees' Personal Time: Encourage a healthy work-life balance by respecting your employees' personal time. This includes not expecting them to be available 24/7 and honoring their designated break times and days off. 
 
Encourage them to disconnect from work when they're not on the clock, and discourage overtime unless it's absolutely necessary. 
 
Additionally, offering flexibility in work schedules or remote work options when feasible to help employees better manage their personal and professional commitments. 
 
Consider A Real Wellbeing Solution: In addressing work-related stress and promoting the overall wellbeing of your employees, it's essential to go beyond superficial or tickbox measures and invest in a comprehensive wellbeing solution. 
 
By taking these steps, you can create a supportive and nurturing work environment that not only reduces work-related stress but also enhances the overall wellbeing and job satisfaction of your employees.  
 
In the long run, this approach is not just beneficial for your employees but also for the productivity and success of your organisation. 
 
While stress is an inevitable part of life, addressing work-related stress early can prevent it from escalating into more serious issues like burnout.  
 
On National Stress Awareness Day, let's all make a commitment to prioritise self-care and seek the support we need to maintain a healthy work-life balance. By implementing these strategies and seeking help when necessary, we can tackle work-related stress effectively. 
 
We've partnered with Breedon Consulting to offer a comprehensive HR and Wellbeing Solution. If you're ready to take that stress away, don't hesitate to get in touch with our team for a discovery call 🤝 
 
info@strive-online.co.uk 
0116 340 0630 
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