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How to deal with stress at work

Between 2017 and 2018, in the UK an estimated 30.7 million working days were lost to work-related stress, making stress one of the largest contributors to overall annual absence days from work related ill-health.1

If you feel that you are suffering from a stress-related problem, don't keep it to yourself. Take steps to overcome the stress you are feeling before it escalates into a bigger issue. The following tips may help you to help yourself and add some extra calm to your working day.

Take your time

Coming into the office, sitting at your desk and launching into the day's workload is not necessarily the best way to start. Instead, make a list of all the tasks you have to achieve that day, estimate how long each task will take, and allow a little extra time to complete each task. Next list them in order of priority.

Be sensible

If you simply have too much work, talk to your manager. Trying to hide the way you feel or cover up the fact you can't meet your deadlines will likely only increase your stress. You're only human and there are only so many hours in the day. If you don't highlight a problem, no one will be any the wiser. If you do highlight a problem, then someone can help you resolve it.

Be professional

Make sure your desk is clean and your papers are organized. It may seem obvious, but clutter can cause confusion. If you are organized and using your time effectively and still cannot meet your targets then you should talk to your manager.

Communicate

Taking the first step towards speaking to someone about your workload can be difficult. Think carefully about which colleagues you are comfortable talking to. Arrange a 20-minute meeting with them and take a little time to organize yourself beforehand. Think about what you want to say and what you want the outcome to be. Think of solutions that can help you. For example, extra resources, more time, or help prioritizing work, and suggest these to your manager.

Break it up

If you're really busy, taking a break can seem like a bad idea. However, overworking can cause productivity to drop.2 Even taking 5-10 minutes to calm your mind can make a difference. Relaxation exercises can seem a little strange at first, especially if you haven't tried them before but they could work for you.

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