How Do You Deal with Stress at Work?

How Do You Deal with Stress at Work?

You can deal with stress at work by being active and talking to someone about your problem. The organisation itself has also has a role to play, by listening to concerns, being flexible and allowing frequent breaks.

Workplace stress may be caused by a variety of factors at work and at home. Therefore, steps on how to relieve stress straddle both work and home environments.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, in 2017/18 a total of 595,000 people suffered from work-related stress, and 15.4 million working days were lost because of it.[1] As a result, everyone needs to know how to destress.

Dealing with Stress at Work

Dealing with stress at work is hard, but not impossible. It is a complex issue, as you never know what is going on in someone’s private life. It is common for private issues like a family member passing away to stress someone out.

However, not many people successfully deal with stressors. Below are some tips on how to do so. To be clear, they wont magically make the problem go away, but they will help to relax your mind.

Be Active

Being active is a hugely important part of dealing with stress.

Exercise of all forms helps, because it takes your mind off of work or private issues. If someone is lazy, there is more time to dwell on stressful issues.

A stressed brain is jumbled, confused and overwhelmed with thoughts. Running, swimming and walking can “reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts.[2]

Furthermore, taking up a new hobby is an opportunity to meet new people, and form new relationships. This can also help to re-focus and relax your mind.

Talk to Someone

Talking to someone about your problems brings a fresh perspective and is much better than bottling your emotions up. This is because “if we push our feelings down… and try to avoid them, eventually, they will explode”.[3] The problem will be much worse if you don’t talk to someone, so express your frustrations in words.

Of course, you should talk to someone you trust with sensitive issues. If you feel like the problem is at work, then you can talk to family members. If the problem is really serious, refer to a doctor. Otherwise, good people to consult in your organisation include:

  • Trusted work colleagues
  • Line managers
  • Bosses
  • Members of HR

An employee should feel like they can ask questions and solve problems. This is the duty of the business itself, to promote a good working environment.

What about Organisations Themselves?

Organisations themselves play a significant role in making sure employees are healthy, mentally and physically. Afterall, they have a duty of care.

Organisations can prevent workplace stress by talking to employees about their worries. The act of simply talking can make a huge difference, as employees feel they are listened to. Target exactly what the problem is i.e. an overly heavy workload, and work with them to fix the issue. The situation will be made a whole lot worse if employees cannot talk about their concern, so put their mind at ease.

In addition, flexibility is an important part of work life. Simple things like allowing an earlier/later start and finish to the working day makes a huge difference, as everyone works differently. Some people may have children, which is stressful enough.

Finally, workspaces themselves can be stressful places. With people going back and forth doing various tasks, taking breaks is very important. Organisations should promote breaks to reduce physical and emotional stress.

Ultimately, both employees and employers want to eradicate stress at work. Promoting a positive environment, where employees can approach someone and ask questions, is hugely important.

You can view our online stress at work course here.


[1] http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress.pdf

[2] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/reduce-stress/

[3] https://www.insider.com/why-its-dangerous-to-bottle-up-your-emotions-2018-12