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Three Ways to Reduce Stress at Work

It is a well known fact that, although our lives are easier than in the past (we no longer have to spend 12 hours a day hand ploughing fields for our food), we are more stressed than ever before.  One statistic that highlights this fact is last year there were 53 million prescriptions written out for anti-depressant drugs in the England.

One of the greatest stressors in modern life is work.  With the recent recession making many people doubt their job security and modern technology allowing us to be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it is no wonder many of us feel completely drained at the end of the working day.

So how can we reduce stress during the hours of nine to five?  Here are three ways to relax without sabotaging your perceived commitment to your employer.

  1. Exercise

As a stress reliever, exercise is hard to beat.  However, if you would rather watch paint dry than go  running, swimming or stationary cycling, why not try some real stress busting moves like kickboxing, Latin dancing, or Zumba.  Exercise releases endorphins, the so called ‘happy hormone’.  It allows the body to sweat out toxins and reduces the level of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.  Just 30 minutes, three to four times a week is enough to make a significant difference in the way you manage work-related stress.

  1. Speak Up

Managers are busy people, so unless you tell them that your workload is becoming unmanageable, they are likely to think everything is fine, and pile on more tasks.  You may find it easier to document your concerns in an email, and invite your manager to come back to you in due course.  Remember to voice your concerns in a professional manner by following these dos and don’ts when approaching your boss.

Do

  • Offer solutions. Do not unload your concerns of stress on your manager without also outlining at least two approaches you believe could alleviate your situation
  • Keep calm. It can be difficult to remain in control but try not to break down in tears.  If you feel the dreaded pinpricks behind your eyes, excuse yourself from the meeting and come back when you feel composed
  • Be positive about your position and your belief that the organisation has the ability and desire to support you. Remember, no organisation wants a personal injury claim for work-related stress brought against them, so if your concerns are valid, it is in your company’s best interests to find a workable solution to the problem

Don’t

  • Play the blame game. Remember, keep it professional.  Finger pointing will only undermine your position.  However, if your work-related stress is caused by a specific person bullying or undermining you, then you do need to alert your supervisor to the situation
  • Be unprepared. Have clear examples of what is causing you unnecessary stress to hand, such as having to work late most evenings.
  1. Turn off your Email

If an individual believes that they have little or no control over their work flow, and constantly feel they are simply ‘fire fighting’ a majority of the time, the chances of them experiencing work-related stress dramatically increases.  One way to combat working reactively instead of proactively is simply to turn off your email alert.  Unfortunately this is easier said than done, as we are programmed on an evolutionary level to seek out new and novel information. This helped keep our ancient ancestors safe on the African savannah, however, studies show that being constantly alerted to a new email coming in and immediately opening it subtly raises our adrenaline and cortisal levels causing stress.

Try and discipline yourself to only checking and responding to your emails two or three times per day.  Let people know you are doing this and trust that in a true emergency situation, people will  pick up the phone and call you.

 What to do if you are Suffering from Work-Related Stress

If you are suffering from the misery of work-related stress, and your organisation has been negligent in allowing the situation which has caused your anxiety to occur or continue, then you may be entitled to claim compensation from your employer.  Many highly respected law firms now offer no win no fee arrangements, which provide an opportunity for all people, no matter what their financial situation, to seek access to justice.

If you are suffering from work-related stress then come and talk to us about your situation.  Our experienced and empathetic team will listen to the details of your predicament and advise you as to whether or not you have a valid claim for compensation.

Don’t suffer in silence, help is available.