Work and Wellbeing 31 August 2018

10 top tips for managing stress at work

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It is essential that managers can reassure employees that it’s okay not to feel okay

Stress in the workplace can have devastating effects on mental health and productivity. Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services for AXA PPP healthcare, sets out his top tips for how to manage stress.

  1. Start by doing some very basic wellness checks

Do you need to increase your exercise, improve your diet, or get more sleep? Fairly simple changes in these three areas can improve your outlook and ability to cope with stressful situations at work.

  1. Challenge your thinking

Do you find yourself taking a negative perspective on work issues, could there be a more balanced view? Take some time to focus on the positive – what are your strengths and what have you achieved?

  1. Make sure you give yourself some time to relax

This is especially important at times of big change, such as starting a new job or taking on a new role and/or added responsibilities.

  1. What can you actually change?

Think about what you have the power to in your current circumstances and prioritise these things, rather than worrying about areas you can’t control.

  1. Make lists and plan workloads

By ticking jobs off your list you’ll start to feel a bit more in control.

  1. Duvet days don’t pay

Don’t just avoid work, chances are your workload will increase while you’re off and add to your troubles.

  1. Identify the real problem

It is important to think about what‘s making you want to phone in sick. Are you afraid of failing? Sometimes we’re our own worst critics.  Think about what you’d say to a friend or a colleague in the same situation. Would you be as hard on them as you are on yourself?

  1. Look at some of the great resources that can help you build resilience

There are many useful books and websites that offer tools for coping with stress.

  1. Don’t ignore the people who care most about you

Call on friends and family members that you have around you – asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.

  1. Most importantly, if you’re having trouble at work, don’t bottle things up

It’s helpful to share your concerns, so speak to your manager or a supportive colleague.

Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services at AXA PPP healthcare, commented: “Employers have a responsibility to create a work environment where employees feel able to be open and honest with their manager. Equally, managers need to feel confident to have a conversation with their employees about how they are and whether they need any support. This confidence can be helped through training and support from their employer.

“A manager asking simply ‘How are you feeling today?’ shows they care. It is also essential that managers can reassure employees that it’s okay not to feel okay and they should feel able to let the employee know about support available to them in the workplace and how to access it. For example, the manager could suggest the employee seeks professional help or uses support such as an employee assistance programme that their employer may offer.”

For more advice and tips on how to deal with mental health in the workplace, visit AXA PPP healthcare’s Mental Health Centre.

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