While it’s completely normal to feel stressed, chronic or excessive stress can be a significant problem. It's important to recognise these signs or feelings and how to overcome them. It's helpful to learn how to manage stress caused by work. If you often experience feelings of stress, you might be at risk of developing a mental health problem like depression or anxiety.
What is stress?
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your to-do list seems endless, deadlines are fast approaching and you find yourself saying ‘Eek! I feel stressed!’? But what is stress really, and how does it affect us?
Stress is primarily a physical response. When stressed, the body thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing a complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine to prepare the body for physical action.
Stress Awareness Month runs from 1 April to 30 April 2022.
So what can you do for Stress Awareness Month?
Talk about stress and it’s effects
The aim of this month is to reduce the stigma associated with stress. By y talking about the topic openly and freely with friends, family and colleagues is a big first step. If you often experience feelings of stress, get in touch with us for a free, fast and confidential chat.
Share your coping techniques
If you have found something works for you to reduce your stress, share it! It might benefit someone you care about and in the meantime, it might help take your focus off your own struggles or challenges.
We are all going to experience stress and anxiety in our lifetime, so this is a reminder to be nice and to treat others with compassion and empathy where possible – you never really know what someone is going through.
Lastly, look after yourself
The term self-care means taking care of yourself to be healthy so you can do your job, help and care for others, do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day which all helps lower stress. Take time out of your day to relax and do something you enjoy.
If you feel that you recognise some signs of stress in yourself, you may wish to try some of the suggestions below:
Learn different coping techniques
Everyone deals with stress differently, so take time to find methods that work for you. Professor Cooper has suggested 10 stress busters which you can find on the NHS website.
Try practising mindfulness
This practice is about focusing on the here and now. It might help you to find calmness and clarity to respond to stressful situations. See our pages on mindfulness and join a free class today to learn more.
Look after your physical health
Eat well and try a gentle activity like going for a walk or doing a chair-based exercise. Our pages on nutrition and physical exercise have more details on how this can help your mental health.
If you feel stressed by a certain problem at work, you might not be alone in this. Anyone can experience some of these common stressful situations in the workplace. The important thing is understanding how to manage them.
- Ask your manager for help. Discuss your workload with your manager. Try setting realistic targets and talk about how you can solve the issues you're having.
- Try to balance your time. You might be doing too much at once. If you don't give each task your full attention, it can take longer. Try to claim your time back if you ever need to work extra hours to get something done.
- Reward yourself for achievements. Rather than only focusing on work that needs to be done next, reward yourself for tasks you’ve completed. Your reward could be taking a break to read, do a puzzle, chat with co-workers or spend time outside.
- Be realistic. You don't have to be perfect all the time. You might find that you're being more critical of your own work than you need to be. Work within your limitations and try to be kind to yourself.
Our Keeping Well Academy pages have some useful information on 'how to have a wellbeing conversation with your team/colleagues.
Self assessment tools
If you are unsure about needing further support, you might want to complete the self-assessment questionnaires on low mood to find out more about your symptoms - click below.
Stress - an NHS self help guide
In this self-help guidebook from the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, they provide information on: What stress is, the signs of stress, causes of stress, how we can manage stress in our body, how we can manage our stressful thoughts, how we can manage our stressed behaviour, what to do if stress is work related, how to beat stress and other useful organisations and resources.
An easy read version is also available to download here.
10 stress busters
10 stress busters from the NHS.
From distress to de-stress
Stress Management Society has a section on stress at work, ways to help you personally with stress, and practical advice.
Webinar: Address your stress
Watch this webinar about low mood and burnout.