It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and we’re taking the time to think about our colleagues’ stress levels, well-being and mental health while at work. It’s important to make sure you’re correctly supported at work but also that you support those around you. Here are our top tips to combat workplace stress.
1. Make time for a break
Set aside time each day to ensure you get a break from your work station, even if it’s for just a short amount of time. By stepping away from your task you give your brain time to recharge, and it can stop you from becoming overwhelmed. Having a break also benefits your employer, because you face your next task with renewed energy.
2. Eat a hearty meal
Sometimes, when you are feeling stressed the last thing you want to do is to cook or eat. However, a good meal can have a restorative effect and give you the energy needed to get a handle of any issues you are facing. Many workplaces have catering facilities, such as those provided by Angel Hill Food Co, where you can get a restaurant quality meal or a grab and go item such as a sandwich, at an often subsidised price, which can take away the hassle of preparing something yourself. Whether you make use of onsite facilities, visit local restaurants or bring food from home, making time to eat can help stabilise your mood and help you to combat stress.
3. Exercise when you can
Exercise is known to decrease stress, boost mood and even help combat anxiety. However, with work, family, and other commitments it is not always possible to fit in a long run or gym session. If you are lucky enough to have a gym or classes at your workplace, being able to fit exercise into your working day can really help to keep stress at bay. If this is not an option for you, a walk around the block in your break or even round the car park can help clear your mind.
4. Try mindfulness
Mindfulness it the name for the technique that helps you be aware of yourself and your surroundings. It is a way to connect with your emotions and senses in the here and now; concentrating on the present. Understanding your emotions and your patterns of thought are the first steps in training your mind to prevent intrusive thoughts from taking over. It can also help you notice the signs of stress or anxiety earlier so you can take steps to help yourself before you become overwhelmed. The NHS has some good resources on mindfulness, click here to explore them.
5. Take control
If you are stressed at work, you often feel out of control and that your workload is insurmountable. The first step to taking control is understanding what you need to do, start by writing a list of everything that needs to be done and then prioritising by order of importance. Many people swear by the “4Ds” of time management, Delegate, Defer, Delete, Do. By organising your workload in this way, the to-do list is broken down into more manageable chunks, and you can start working through those tasks on the “do” list. Taking control can be one of the best ways to handle stress at work. It’s easy to let worries pile up and feel like it’s impossible to handle, but by taking ownership of your tasks you’ll start to get a sense of being on top of things again.
6. Talk to someone
Never underestimate the power of talking through your emotions. Whether it is a chat with friends and family, a natter with a colleague over a cup of tea or talking with your line manager/HR, sometimes knowing you are not alone goes a long way to help lift the stress from your shoulders. They could also be able to help in more practical ways, from helping you to prioritise to offering suggestions of techniques that they have tried and tested.
We all feel stressed at different times in our life, by learning to recognise our triggers and building an arsenal of coping skills, you can make it easier to manage.
Stress is not a medical condition by itself, but it can cause or be a symptom of wider mental health concerns. If you are feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope, always seek advice from a medical practitioner.