It’s a sad but true fact that work can often be too damn stressful. In fact, only 1% of UK employed adults say they’ve never experienced workplace stress. A 2020 UK workplace stress study found that work-related stress has risen by 20% since 2018. Throw in global pandemic anxiety and you've got yourself a recipe for a mental health disaster. But we’re here to help you calm your mind, manage your stress and keep your job on track, now just breeeeeeathe...
When you think of how to reduce stress at work you probably think of the basics; eat well, get 8 hours of sleep and try to reduce your workload. But we're here to help you think beyond this. Here are the ultimate ways to offload pressure, organise your workload and master stress management. Forget negative feelings of overwhelming stress and get ready to maintain a healthy, balanced working lifestyle.
Top Tips to Reduce Work Stress and Take Care of You
Lists, lists, lists...
Stress is caused by too many tasks, ideas and worries crowding your mind. We've all been there; you've got 100 things needing to get done when your boss suddenly piles on ten more. Before you know it your job is causing your anxiety levels (not to mention blood pressure) to go through the roof.
If you let these tasks build-up you'll slowly start to become overwhelmed. Multitasking rarely means that you produce good quality work because you are too busy switching from project to project. Anxiety will begin to build and before you know it, you won't be performing to your full potential.
How do we prevent this from happening?
Lists effectively reduce stress at work. It might seem like a simple solution, but it's also an effective, long-term solution. Lists move worries out of your head and onto paper, literally de-cluttering your mind. Once you can see everything you need to get done, you're able to work through them in an organised manner and gradually tick tasks off your list.
The process of checking off your tasks will feel like a weight is being lifted. Creating a list will also give you a sense of control - picture throwing yourself a safety ring float when you’re drowning in a sea of work.
No more procrastination
Did you know 20% of us admit to procrastinating every day? And how about the fact that 'how to stop procrastinating' gets Google searched over 22,000 times a month?
Procrastination isn’t just disastrous for productivity, it’s also awful for our mental health. There is an old saying, “the only way out of fear is through it.” Now, we’re not saying that you fear all work tasks, but there's a reason you're not completing them. This saying means you should face your tasks head-on, rather than constantly making excuses for not doing them.
Psychology Today explains if you avoid things that scare you, you tend to experience a sense of failure. This causes you to become more anxious and lose mental strength. If you keep this cycle up, your mind will become weak, you will lose your confidence and your stress levels will skyrocket.
So what's our advice?
Just do it. If you have a task that seems too big, too complicated or too difficult; get it done. The trick is to do the opposite of what your mind tells you. If the little voice in your head says “this project is too complicated to face today, leave it till next week”, we say: do it anyway.
Take control, get the job done and reduce work stress.
Other than bracing yourself and facing your to-do lists head-on, we can recommend checking out other productivity techniques to help you say goodbye to the negative effects of procrastination.
Reward yourself for your hard work
According to the official NHS website, the UK has the longest working hours in Europe. And with long working hours comes increased work stress. We wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, then rinse and repeat. If we don’t schedule time to treat ourselves, we’re going to become very miserable. And guess what? Our work-related stress levels are going to be through the roof.
We recommend treating yourself for any achievements. Maybe you've mastered a new skill? Or perhaps you've just smashed a particularly busy week at work?
Rewarding yourself will make you feel accomplished and encourage you to work harder in the future. We guarantee you'll feel super motivated once you've given yourself a little treat.
This could be in any form you like. Whether it's a tasty snack, taking more regular breaks throughout the day, or a cheeky online shopping splurge - you deserve it!
Why not treat yourself or your employees to a box of lovely local goodies from HappyCo. We offer curated boxes with customisable swag filled with unique products from independent businesses in the UK.
Treat yourself and your team to high-quality products and support local businesses at the same time. It's time to reward yourself for all your hard work, combat work-related stress and put mental health at the top of your priority list.
Say goodbye to mindless scrolling
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard of the new Netflix phenomenon The Social Dilemma. This docudrama explains the deep-rooted psychological triggers which most social media apps use to make them so addictive.
If you frequently find yourself doing this at work, your stress and anxiety levels will increase. You put more pressure on yourself to complete tasks later on as you continually put off your work and spend time scrolling.
It's time to give up social media (at least while you're working). But we know this is easier said than done, so here are a few tips to break that addiction and improve your focus;
- Turn off your alerts. Ringtones and vibrations cut through your concentration levels and make it tough to resist the urge to look at your phone. To avoid these distractions simply turn the notifications off and wait to look at them at the end of the day.
- Lock your phone away out of your eyesight. Keep it in your bag, leave it in your car or lock it in your drawer, as the old saying goes “out of sight, out of mind.” When you can’t see your phone, you're less likely to reach for it when you hit a wall with your work. This will force you to push through with your work rather than scrolling through Facebook or Instagram.
- Allocate a time of day for checking your phone. This could be on your lunch break or when you go to make a drink. Make your workstation a no phones area to ensure notifications don't interrupt you and affect your ability to concentrate.
We hope you've loved our tips to help you feel less stressed at work. The key to reducing work-related stress is taking control, putting things into perspective and always making sure that you reward yourself. So why not give them a go? Let us know how you get on. And always remember - your mental health is just as important as getting the job done!
Written by Hayley Biggs