Employee Wellbeing

How to reduce stress at work

New data shows how one in 14 UK adults feel stressed every single day. A big contributor to stress can be work. If you’re feeling stressed by your job, read our guide on our top five tips on reducing stress at work.
Alanah Hammond
4 minutes

In situations such as work, stress occurs when we experience too much pressure without the appropriate time to recover. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines stress as “the adverse reaction a person has to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed upon them”.

This pressure builds up, resulting in a feeling of stress, which 7% of UK adults feel every day, according to new data. 18% of UK adults also say that workload demands are a cause of this stress for them. 

With so many suffering from work-related stress, it is clear that we need to reassess the workplace to ensure that we are able to reduce stress at work. Here’s five tips on how to reduce your stress. 

1. Get Active 

The NHS explains how exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will help reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling and clear your thoughts. 

Marcus Axelson, Head of Sales at Myles Wellbeing, told his experience of using exercise to cope with stress. He said, “I like to go to the gym in the morning or at lunch to manage stress levels”.

He continued, adding, “If I'm struggling with a particular project I’ll go for a walk and talk through it in my head. Some fresh air, a bit of physical activity and a little time away from the computer screen tends to help with stress levels!”. 

Similarly, Toby Cannon, CEO and co-founder of Myles Wellbeing, shared his thoughts on using exercise to cope with stress. He said, “A good swim, run or bike ride de-stresses me and allows my mind to wander and solve problems in the background”.

Exercise is clearly a great way to improve your wellbeing at work, which will help reduce any work-related stress. If you’re struggling for motivation to exercise, try out the Myles Wellbeing app which creates a virtual wellbeing platform amongst your colleagues so that you can all motivate each other to get active. 

Ultimately, any physical activity will help you de-stress, so go on a run, or try out a new workout and feel the benefits!

2. Communication 

If there is a problem at work which is causing you stress, speak up and communicate with your managers to help solve any issues. 

For example, if your workload is too much, discuss setting realistic targets with your manager. A smaller workload will mean that you will not be overwhelmed, but rather more productive as you’re not worrying about how many tasks you have to complete.

Marcus Axelson, Head of Sales at Myles Wellbeing, discussed how he uses weekly catch-ups to help with stress staff levels. In the chats, Marcus described how he can really connect with his colleagues and talk through how they’re getting on. 

He discussed how he could “Assess areas of opportunity for improvement and actively assist workers on reaching their goals, which tended to alleviate employee stress levels, from experience”.

If you find that employees are struggling with their mental health as a result of stress, there are many free resources and tools for your workplace to help. For example, the charity Mind offers a free guide to their Wellness Action Plans to help start a conversation with your workers about their mental health. 

3. Only control the controllable

Although it sounds like a cliche, it’s true. Work smarter by prioritising your tasks and accepting that there are some jobs which are out of your control, and so you can’t complete them.

Toby Cannon, CEO and co-founder of Myles Wellbeing, described how he is a “Big believer in separating out the things you can control from the things you can't control”. He explained further that “There’s not much point stressing about anything outside of your sphere of influence, so writing these things down is a good way to de-stress”.

By focusing on the tasks you can complete, you will find yourself being more productive as well as less stressed.

4. Sleep well and eat right

More data from Ciphr shows that in a recent survey of 2,000 UK adults, on average, a typical UK adult feels stressed approximately 8.27 days a month. That’s more than twice a week! 

With stress being such a common feeling among adults, it is essential that you look after your physical health to also help with your mental health. Great physical health comes with not just exercise, but also a balanced diet and enough sleep.

If we do not get enough sleep, our mental functioning–including concentration, productivity and alertness– will be negatively affected the next day.  This means that you will feel more pressure at work, which can build up and result in stress.

Ensure that you are eating healthily, with enough fruit and vegetables, and that you aim to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night, which is the recommended amount.

5. Find a work- life balance 

A lack of a work-life balance will result in stress as you’re not giving your body enough time to recover if you’re constantly working. To ensure you divorce home and work life, especially if you work from home, try to stick to office working hours and don’t check your emails on your days off. 

If you read something that seems urgent, it is likely that you will stop resting and return to work, or you will spend too much time thinking about what you have to do when you’re back at work. Both will not help any stress levels!

Try to also focus on your life outside work. Find something that you’re passionate about or interested in, and develop a skill that you don’t use at work. Also try to connect with the people around you who aren’t work colleagues, as any separation from work can help you see the difference between your work life and private life.

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