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Coping with Work Stress

The founder of modern stress research, Hans Seyle, suggested that stress is not completely avoidable, or else we would have to avoid life, which is of course an impossible task. The key is to understand what can be changed, develop skills to bring about change and know when to take a step back, avoid a situation or look for new, creative solutions to life’s problems. There is no single solution to stress in any walk of life, whether its origins are in the work place or our external environment.

Tackling stress requires thought, planning and action. Ignoring stress and hoping it will subside of its own accord is rarely an adequate solution. Below are some general tips on tackling work place stress.

Good time management

Focus on the tasks that matter. Think about what your priorities are in life and what you want to achieve. Work out some short-term and medium-term goals to help you achieve those things. If you have lots to do write a list – single lists are better than multiple lists, which can become overwhelming and unattainable.

Don’t forget to take a lunch break

Having rest will improve your concentration. Take regular short breaks throughout the day, wherever possible.

Delegate where possible

If something can be better handled by someone else then delegate. Relinquish the desire to control every aspect of your work. Sometimes we all need help, that is why most businesses consist of teams rather than a single individual.

Know when to say no

Don’t take on too much and realise that you do have a choice. It may be useful as a short-term strategy but becoming the employee who ALWAYs says yes can have negative consequences for you in the long-term.

Arrive earlier at work

If you can, get to work a bit earlier to give you more time to settle down and get stuck into your work, rather than running late, which causes stress in itself.

Don’t stay silent

Speak to your manager or another team member if you are feeling under pressure, or find an outside organisation that can help. Don’t suffer in silence. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 your employer is obliged to ensure your health and safety, and conduct risk assessments for work-related stress.

Deal with bullies

If you are being bullied at work, explain to them that their behaviour is unacceptable and making you feel uncomfortable. Explain that if it happens again you will take action. Remain composed and calm and note down the times and dates when incidents took place, what witnesses were present and what events occurred. Ask your colleagues if they are also having problems with the individual. If you are a member of a union you can talk to a representative who will be able to help you. Be sure to go through official channels and if you require counselling or other help speak with your doctor.

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