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  • Lyn Reed

Want to combat work related stress? Here’s how

The most common causes of work-related stress are work pressures, poor

organisation, and lack of support from management. Some of us find these

kinds of challenges incredibly stressful. Others do not. Remember, we each

react to stress differently. It is important to identify what causes you to feel

stressed in the workplace. This is the first step to learning to manage stress.

Unhealthy stress can lead to a lack of self-confidence, feelings of

powerlessness and depression. If not combated, we risk developing chronic


So, what to do?

- Take responsibility for your physical and emotional well-being. Take a

good look at your working day – what COULD you do to tackle stress?

One immediate and not difficult action to take is to build in BREAKS,

move about if you do a sedentary job.

- Ask yourself: do you need to join the Whatsapp chit chat waffle with

work colleagues? Your work colleagues are just that. COLLEAGUES. As

distinct from being your friends. Be aware of your boundaries.

- Do you need to answer ALL those work emails immediately: give yourself

some time to think about whether a response can wait until later or

another day? Prioritise your responses. Not everything is equally


- If you find yourself working beyond ‘reasonable hours’ (which can be

easier to do when working from home) ask yourself this question: why

am I doing this? What/who is driving this behaviour? Make a log and

see just many hours you are working. If it is too much, aim to work

smarter, put boundaries and promise yourself to shut down the PC at a


It is important to identify negative behaviour which can be the result of chronic

stress in the workplace: anger, bullying, irritation, belittling others – at home

and work. If you find you are behaving this way, consider the following:

- Learn to communicate better to improve your relationship with

colleagues and management (luckily there are lots of free online

courses/YouTube can show you how)

- Be assertive (as opposed to being passive or aggressive). Lots of free

online courses can help with this

- Try using the word ‘I’ more as this helps us take ownership of our own

feelings and behaviours as opposed to blaming others and getting into

unnecessary conflict

- Step back and reflect on what is happening to YOU. Ask people you trust

to give their opinion on your how you are behaving. Listen to their

FEEDBACK. When we are in the middle of our own stress, it is hard to


When people are concerned about their stress levels at work they often talk

about ‘changing the culture’ also known as ‘they way we do things around

here’. This is a challenging thing to do – however, small changes can be made

by suggestions at meetings, or in appraisal interviews. Bear in mind if you feel

isolated and are concerned your own well-being will suffer then it is important

to reflect and consider carefully what you are prepared to tackle without

compromising your own health.

Above all, learn to be aware of your own limitations and take care of your

own well-being.

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