Opinion

Feeling the pressure? Give workplace stress its marching orders!

With our tough economic climate showing little sign of easing up we’re all feeling the pinch. We’re working even harder while fearing the loss of more jobs. So, with the usual daily challenges of work it really isn’t surprising that so many people are experiencing symptoms of stress such as…

  • Anxiety and depression.
  • Constant fatigue.
  • Feelings of nausea.
  • Headaches.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • No interest in work or social life.
  • Insomnia.
  • Excessive smoking, drinking or use of drugs.
  • Digestion problems.
  • Loss of concentration and patience.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Weight loss.

Yet, many of us feel obliged to stick it out even the going gets too tough. In fact the mental health charity, Mind, recently found that work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives with one in three people surveyed saying work was either very or quite stressful.

Mind also reports that 9% of people have resigned from a job and one in five take a day off sick because of stress. Also, with the country’s gross domestic product apparently losing £52 billion each year due to mental health issues, we all have an interest in looking after ourselves.

But what’s the solution? Well, it certainly isn’t taking it out on that temperamental printer! Here are few much more productive ways to give stress the heave-ho:

Break for lunch – Unless it’s totally unavoidable, leave your desk to eat lunch. Not only will you feel refreshed when you return, you may have had a chance to call a friend for a chat or just mull things over.

Healthy body, healthy mind – Whether it’s a lunchtime stroll in a park, regular stretching at your desk, a post-work gym workout or yoga class, exercise can clear your mind of anxiety and help you deal with causes of stress more calmly. Or give meditation a try if you want to learn how to let go of worrying thoughts.

Also, the healthier your diet the stronger you’ll be to deal with stress. Bin the biscuits and instead munch on nuts, fruit and other healthier options. To keep things interesting experiment with snacks you’ve never tried before!

Talk to your line manager – If things are getting on top of you, talk to your line manager about how you’re feeling; they might have some great advice. If for some reason you feel you can’t discuss the issue with them, another senior colleague may be able to help. Alternatively, go to your HR team – they may have initiatives in place to help employees deal with workplace stress such as working from home.

Strike a better work-life balance – It’s recognised that constantly working long hours isn’t good for mental health. Try to manage your time well, so you don’t find yourself at your desk when you should be enjoying a social life or reading bedtime stories to the children. Confiding in understanding friends or family members is also a great tonic. 

Visit your GP – Talking it through with your doctor can help put your mind at rest and put things into perspective. If you need further support your GP will be able to help.

Whatever stress-busting techniques you opt for, taking responsibility for your own mental wellbeing at work is essential to a healthy professional life. So, don’t ignore signs of stress - get into positive habits that can improve life at the office and benefit your personal life.