There are a number of ways to reduce the negative impact of work-related stress. Most of them involve the way you work and your working environment. If these don’t work, your doctor may recommend other options, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or medicines to help treat work-related stress.
Try to recognise what you find stressful at work and what helps you work better. Some things you may need to discuss with your colleagues or manager. However, there are several things you can do to help yourself:
- Make your working environment as comfortable to work in as you can. If it isn't, ask for help from the relevant person at work.
- Try to develop good relationships with your colleagues – this can help to create a support network at work.
- Learn to say no if you can't take on extra work or responsibility – make sure you’re able to explain why.
- Take a walk or get some fresh air during the day – exercise and daylight are good for both your mental and physical health.
- Eat a balanced diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, and drink enough water.
- Try not to drink too much alcohol – drinking too much is likely to make you feel worse and more stressed in the long run.
- Work regular hours and take the breaks and holidays you're entitled to – it’s important to take time off work.
- Maintain a healthy work-life balance. Don’t neglect your family or relationships outside of work.
If you feel stressed or anxious at work, talk to someone you trust about what upsets you or what makes you feel stressed. This person could be someone at work or outside of it. It's important to talk directly to your manager if you’re stressed because of work. He or she has a duty to help you resolve the problem or cause. Explain how you're feeling and discuss your workload.
Try to do regular exercise as this can help to reduce stress. Exercise helps reduce stress hormones (chemicals produced by the body) and stimulates the release of endorphins in your body (the hormones that make you feel good). The World Health Organization recommends doing 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate exercise (this means your breathing is faster, your heart rate is increased and you feel warmer) over a week. You can do this by carrying out 30 minutes on at least five days each week. You can incorporate exercise into your daily routine – do something you enjoy like gardening, walking or dancing. Everyday tasks, such as housework, can also be good exercise.
If you feel you're being bullied or harassed at work, speak to your manager or your company's human resources department. Most companies have policies in place to deal with this type of problem.
You may find it helpful to learn relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises and meditation, to help you relax and manage stressful situations.
Some people find yoga or Pilates effective at reducing stress and anxiety. Yoga postures and controlled breathing exercises help you control your body and relax your mind.