10 Ways to Reduce Stress at Work

According to the Health and Safety Executive in 2014/2015, 440,000 people in the UK reported work related-stress at a level that was making them ill. This is a staggering 40% of all recorded work related illnesses. 

This statistic reflects the importance of managing your wellbeing so you avoid being overwhelmed with stress. If work begins to negatively impact on other areas of your life, this is when you need to make a change to your working routine. 

The following 10 steps will help you to take more control of work:

1) Recognise your stress. The first step to preventing stress from taking over your life is recognising that you are ultimately stressed!  There are number of signs and symptoms of stress, which are listed on the NHS website.  Once you have recognised this you can start to deal with the problem preferably before it worsens.

2) Speak to your manager or Headteacher. If your colleagues are aware that you are finding certain aspects of your role stressful they may be able to suggest coping mechanisms or provide you with extra support.

3) Stop being a yes person. Saying yes to every task or project that is offered to you will ultimately make you feel stressed out. Learn when to say no and be realistic about the time you have. Here are some tips to saying no to additional tasks without upsetting your manager. 

4) Take a break. Take some time for yourself to relax and recharge your batteries after work as taking some “me time” is essential for maintaining your wellbeing.  

5) Have a “Future Self” and live in the moment. If you are worrying about next week before you have got the present week out the way, it could leave you feeling overwhelmed. By making next week or tomorrow your future self’s problem, this will stop you from worrying unnecessarily and encourage you to live more in the present. 

6) Create a great workspace. Make sure you have a comfortable, well-lit space to work in to avoid the health pitfalls of a poor ergonomic work station. You can find tips on how to create a better work station here

7) Avoid looking at work emails. When you get home in the evenings and at weekends, turn off either your work phone or any device where you can access work emails so you avoid the temptation to look.  A recent study has shown that constant email notifications are a “toxic cause of stress” and in order to combat this, turning off email devices outside of work is important to distinguish between work and your private life. 

8) Eliminate Interruptions. If you are staying after school finishes to complete a report or marking then avoid any interruptions so you complete your work in good time. Perhaps you will be less distracted if you take a short walk after you dismiss your last class of the day and then when you return you can knuckle down and be home at a good time. Checking your social media accounts or personal emails instead will not help you complete your work and will result in you feeling frustrated you did not get your tasks completed.

9) Exercise. Exercising is great way to keep stress in check as physical activity causes “feel-good chemicals” (called endorphins) to be released into your bloodstream making you feel better. It is also great for your waistline as chronic stress releases cortisol into your body which can result in weight gain, digestive problems and depression. You don’t have to join a gym to do exercise - here’s a list on gym free easy exercises to get you started.  

10) Buddy Up. Find a friend, colleague or family member that you can talk to about work which will prevent you from taking your work stress out on your partner. Offloading to your partner or housemate all the time will undoubtedly transfer some of your stress onto them and possibly put a strain on your relationship. 

Read Building Resilience and Managing your Wellbeing as a Teacher for more tips and advice on coping with workplace stress. 

You can join our Facebook Kent-Teach Wellbeing Support group for more information on protecting your wellbeing. 

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