Stress Awareness Month – Managing Workplace Stress!

Stress is a natural survival instinct! It may raise: heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and energy levels; your body is gearing up for a fight-or-flight response. The degree of this varies depending on what caused the stress, the proper levels can even boost performance! We can work to maintain healthy stress levels through preparation, although sometimes we may find ourselves in situations we have no control over resulting in unhealthy reactions. Too much stress can disrupt daily life and health, so it is critical to understand how to manage it.


The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) identified six major sources of workplace stress:


High-demanding jobs and an overload of work, or even the opposite – too much work can be overwhelming, while too little can decrease an employee’s confidence and cause stress around job security.

Loss of control – as previously stated, this is a significant source of stress. It is essential for an employee to have some flexibility in allocating work and carrying it out. This also fosters trust between the manager and the employee.

Relationships between work colleagues – positive relationships with work colleagues can greatly impact working life; after all, you are most likely with each other during most of your working hours. Failure to establish these relationships may lead to feeling isolated and difficulty in group tasks.

Lack of support from management – it is important that an employee feels comfortable to speak out about what is causing them stress.

Understanding of role – staff should understand the value of the role they are in, this increases motivation and fulfilment, as they recognise where they make a difference.

Large changes within a role or company should be clearly communicated to reduce feelings of insecurity.


Healthcare workers face a lot of stress as they often find themselves in emotionally challenging situations that may not be in their control.

They are at a higher risk of compassion fatigue which is caused by the stress from exposure to others experiencing extreme stress or trauma beyond their control to help. Symptoms may take the form of physical and mental exhaustion which can affect their day-to-day functioning.


It is important to identify the causes but now let’s see what you can do!


Leave work, at work! – A work–life balance is so important in preventing burnout! Take plenty of breaks, establish a place to disconnect and separate your relaxing space from your workspace.

Exercise – Not only is it good for physical health, but it also releases happy hormones which have a positive effect psychologically. It also gives you time to remove yourself from what’s causing the stress, acting as a good distraction.

You can even exercise with others and build a support network which helps with accountability to ensure you are persistent, even when you’re not feeling motivated.

Take up a hobby – challenge yourself outside of work! Give yourself something to look forward to and feel accomplished. Not only will this help you disconnect from work, but it may also enable you to join a community of people with similar interests!

Dedicate time for yourself – Self-care can decline especially when you have been dealing with high volumes of stress for a long time! Take time out for yourself, rest, reflect and even plan how you are going to better manage your stresses going forward.

Communication is key! – speak to your relatives, friends, colleagues or even your employer. There is no shame in experiencing stress, it happens to everybody. It is important to have people to confide in so they can support you in making the relevant changes to relieve it.


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