The past 18 months have been uncertain and stressful, particularly for employees.
In fact, according to employment perk provider Perkbox, 79% of British adults experienced work-related stress in 2020.
So, with National Stress Awareness Day coming up on 3 November, it’s a good time to reconsider your relationship with stress and anxiety in the workplace.
Here are five strategies you could consider to help you beat stress and anxiety in the workplace.
1. Find your stress triggers
The first step to tackling your workplace stress is to find out your personal stress triggers.
According to the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there are six main triggers for stress in the workplace:
- The demands of the role, such as being overworked or asked to do tasks that you’ve been inadequately prepared for.
- The control you have over your role, such as being micromanaged or asked to work in a way that doesn’t suit your attitude towards work.
- The relationships you have, including issues such as bullying or grievances with colleagues and managers.
- The support you receive, including both from managers and other colleagues of the same level.
- Your role’s utility in the company, and how the objectives of your role contribute to the wider health of the business.
- How change in the business is explained, handled and executed by management teams.
Try to work out which of these is a trigger for your stress. Once you know what it is that stresses you out, you can start to put strategies in place that help to target and reduce it.
2. Create a work schedule
The next step you should take is to create a consistent work schedule.
Forward planning and creating a routine can greatly help to reduce stress, especially the kind that comes from feeling overworked.
One of the biggest benefits you might find from creating a schedule is the ability to say “no” when you simply don’t have the capacity to take on more work.
If possible, create your work schedule alongside those in your team. That way, everyone knows exactly where they stand and what they can ask for.
3. Take regular breaks and holidays
As part of your work schedule, you should include regular breaks, including making the most of your holiday entitlement.
Paid time off is a legal requirement for the simple reason that it’s vital to have some time away from work. Try to use all your holiday entitlement each year, even if you just use it to spend time at home on projects that matter to you.
Taking breaks throughout the workday is equally important. Even if it’s as simple as getting away from your desk for an hour-long walk at lunchtime, give yourself space between different tasks so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
This is also especially important if you work from home. Make sure you turn your laptop off and don’t read emails when the workday is over so that you have separation from your work.
4. Try mindfulness techniques
One strategy that’s become particularly popular in recent years for dealing with stress is practising mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the technique of feeling fully present in who you are and what you’re doing by giving your full attention to yourself and your body.
Meditation is one of the most common examples of mindfulness. Start by following your natural breathing rhythms to slow the mind and become fully present in a moment.
Apps such as Calm and Headspace offer a variety of guided meditations and similar exercises that can help you to take a breath and slow down.
In fact, a study of Headspace users in 2018 found that using the app could reduce stress by 11% in 10 days, and by 32% in 30 days.
Even if you’ve never tried it before, giving mindfulness a go could help you reduce stress and gain greater peace of mind.
5. Be open with people in the workplace
Perhaps the best (and frankly most difficult) thing you can do is to communicate openly and honestly with your colleagues about your stress.
If you’re asked to do more work than you’re able to handle, tell your managers that you won’t have time. Be willing to explain your situation so that they fully understand how you feel.
As well as being realistic with your workload, don’t be afraid to seek help when things are getting to be too much. Overworking yourself will only serve to damage both your mental health and the quality of the work you do.
Your managers and colleagues will want to help you as they no doubt experience the same stresses.
It can be difficult to do, as it can feel awkward and potentially uncooperative to put your health first. But realistically, creating a culture where you can voice your issues around stress is the best way to resolve them in the long term.
Speak to us
While some stresses are unavoidable, one thing you shouldn’t have to worry about is your money.
If you’d like to find out how working with a financial planner could help reduce your financial stress, then please get in touch with us at Bowmore Financial Planning.
Email email@example.com or call 01275 462 469 to find out more.
Bowmore Financial Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the FCA.