Crazy demands from the boss, tight deadlines and long working hours can leave even the most stoic of us pulling out our hair. In fact, over half of UK employees admit to suffering from stress .
A certain amount of pressure at work can be a good thing, it helps to keep you motivated, driven and productive. However, when there is too much pressure, stress can become a real problem, potentially affecting your mental health, leading to depression and anxiety.
Of course, some stress is difficult to avoid, but here are some things you can do to reduce stress levels in the workplace.
Even if you are a naturally disorganised person, forward planning and staying organised can greatly decrease stress at work. Make a ‘to-do' list to help you prioritise your daily tasks and work out how long it will take to complete each one. If you have a large task to complete, try breaking it up into smaller tasks to make it easier to tackle. You'll get a greater sense of accomplishment as you complete each task and hopefully feel more on top of things.
Set some boundaries
Living in a digital age, it's very easy for us to think that we need to be available 24 hours a day, but this could quickly cause you to burnout. It's important to set some work-life boundaries for yourself. Set a cut-off time, and after this time switch off your work phone so you're not tempted to check work emails or take any business calls.
Take a break
Taking regular breaks and getting away from your desk throughout the working day can improve your productivity and help reduce stress. When drowning in work, it may seem counterproductive to abandon your desk and take a breather, but you may find you return re-energised and ready to take on that big project.
Avoid unhealthy habits
After a hectic day at work, it can be tempting to turn to unhealthy habits in an attempt to unwind. However, unhealthy behaviours such as smoking and drinking alcohol can inflame our feelings of stress.
That bottle of wine of an evening can come with some pretty negative side-effects, including dehydration and disturbed sleep, not to mention a killer headache the next morning. These side-effects can leave us feeling tired and irritable, making us less able to deal with stress.
Many smokers believe that cigarettes help them to relax. However, stress levels can increase once the initial effects of nicotine wear off and smokers are more likely than non-smokers to suffer from depression and anxiety .
Take time to recharge
To avoid the negative effects of chronic stress, it's important to switch off from the daily grind from time to time. Take advantage of your holiday allowance and take time off to pursue your hobbies or spend time with family and friends. You may find you come back to work feeling invigorated and ready to perform at your best.
Make time for exercise
Being active is great for your physical and mental health. Exercise can sharpen your focus and lift your mood, making tackling a stressful situation seem less daunting. If you struggle to make time for the gym, try squeezing in some exercise during your lunch break. This could be as simple as a ten-minute brisk walk. This can help you to blow off some steam and get those endorphins flowing.
Inform your manager and let them know that you are struggling. Be honest and let them know what the issues are, they may be able to help and prevent the situation from getting any worse. If you don't tell them, how can they help?