In any occupation, work can be stressful.
This can come from mental and emotional stress that you have daily in your working life.
According to the Health and Safety Executive’s Labour Force Survey, in 2015/16 there were 488,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety. And NHS doctors report that up to 1/3rd of Fit Notes issued relate to mental health issues.
They also report that stress is higher in public service industries such as education, health and social care, public administration and defense. But, stress can find its way into any workplace, no matter the industry.
While work can take its toll on us over time, there are ways to help keep your stress levels under control.
Read on to learn 5 tips to reduce emotional stress in the workplace.
1. You Aren’t Alone
One of the most important ways to overcome stress at work is by understanding that you are not alone.
Approximately 1 in 3 people have experienced mental health issues in the workplace and this estimation is supported by a report from NHS doctors who state that one third of Fit Notes issued relate to mental health issues. So in any workplace of 100 people, there could be over 30 other people who feel similar to you.
It can be easy to think you are the only one that feels this way when under a great deal of stress, but by understanding that you aren’t alone with these feelings, can help to cope. And additionally, having discussions about it with others may have a positive impact.
2. Talk About Your Stress
Realising you aren’t alone when dealing with stress, is only part of the process.
You also need to be sure you are being open with others about your feelings.
Not speaking up about how you feel can have consequences; such feeling worse about your position and can negatively impact your mental health.
There is often a stigma surrounding mental health and it can sometimes hinder someone admitting how they are feeling.
But, a lot of people feel the way that you do and may be more common than you have been led to believe. Communicating your feelings can help you feel relief while forming connections and friendships with people who can support you.
By feeling better and mentally healthier, you can be a happier person and a more productive employee, which is important for you personally and professionally.
Talking about stress includes letting someone in authority know if it is being caused by your work or made worse by your work. Don’t be scared to tell your manager / another manager, or those who deal with HR as they cannot seek to improve anything if they are not aware there is a problem in the first place. Employers also have a legal (as well as moral) duty to ensure that stress caused by work and working environments is identified and managed.
3. Exercise Regularly
Besides speaking about your emotional stress, regular exercise can be a great way to cope and recover.
According to the National Health Service, adults between the ages of 19 and 64 should partake in aerobic and strength exercises. They recommend 2.5 hours of aerobic activity and strength exercises for the major muscles at least two or more days each week.
Exercising can help to clear your mind and to de-stress from both your work and personal life. This is because your mind is focused on your exercise rather than your workload or an upcoming deadline.
Exercise also helps your body produce higher levels of dopamine, a chemical in your brain that helps send your brain “feel good” messages. This can improve your mood; lower your blood pressure and increase your physical health.
4. Develop a Plan
Tackling emotional stress is similar to your work projects in that you must approach both with a well-developed plan.
By sharing your situation with those who are closest to you, this helps you to feel more comfortable. You will be able to open up more with those who you confide in while also helping you bounce off ideas from them.
You should set short- and long-term goals for yourself. By working with other people as you do this, it helps you to evaluate your progress. It also gives you realistic benchmarks and ways to monitor your development.
When you develop a reasonable plan with measurable goals, you are more likely to stick to it. This is the sort of thing that can separate you from quietly suffering from emotional stress or proactively working to overcome it.
5. Know When to Shut-Off
Your work may consist of long, demanding hours but one way to help reduce emotional stress is to know when you need to hit the off work switch.
In the workplace today, there is often the pressure to produce and work longer hours and sometimes there is no way to avoid this. There will be some work days which will be better than others. But it is important to step away from your work and unwind.
There are many ways in which can you do this, for example, you could take a walk during your lunch break or plan a holiday with your family or friends.
Take short breaks / holidays to give yourself some special “me” time, as this is a fantastic way to put a divide between yourself and your work. Turn off your work emails whilst you are away, to disconnect from the pressures of your office. If you are unable to take your regular walk during the day, don’t let this affect your progress and simply pick another time.
Reduce Emotional Stress
Reducing emotional stress in your occupation is worthwhile.
It can help you become a healthier person and a better employee. This is beneficial for yourself and your employer because you will feel happier and will be more productive at work.
At PHSC Ltd. (Professional Help at Sensible Cost), we are an established consultancy in the United Kingdom. We provide a comprehensive range of health and safety services.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business and your employees feel happier at work and with less emotional stress.