5 things you can do today to reduce stress at work

Posted on Aug 20, 2014 04:30 PM |

5 things you can do today to reduce stress at work

Untreated stress can turn into mental illness so take action now Photo: flickr.com/59030623@N03

Most people are affected by workplace stress at some point in their career. Unfortunately having an ethical job doesn’t automatically discount you from experiencing stress at work.

survey on stress and wellbeing in Australia from the Australian Psychological Society (APS) last year found that 34% of Australians identified issues in the workplace as a source of stress.

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome work-related stress and live a more balanced and mentally healthy life.

Firstly, what are the main areas that cause stress in the work place?

Lack of employer support for mental illness

Only half of those employees surveyed felt that their employer supported staff with mental illness adequately. Given that stress can lead to mental illness, it's important for your employer to have measures in place to recognise mental illness and have policies so that they can adequately support employees experiencing anxiety and depression.

Managing change poorly

Only about half of respondents felt that their organisation managed change well. Change in the workplace breeds uncertainty and confusion and can be a big cause of stress.

Feeling undervalued

Equal to managing change, only half of respondents felt that their employer valued their contribution and cared about their wellbeing. Recognition for a job well done has ongoing health and wellbeing benefits for employees and has lots of positive benefits including reducing stress and frustration.

What can you do about it?

Given that untreated stress can turn into mental illness such as anxiety and depression it's important that you take action on a daily basis to decrease stress at work and avoid long term health issues.

Of the 20 strategies identified by survey participants, the following proved most effective

Spend time with friends and/or family

Connecting with people outside the workplace is a great way to de-stress. Have you ever had a particularly bad day and work and felt better once you've had a rant about it to a friend? By visiting a friend or family, or even reaching out to people online you can help to fight early signs of depression.

Listen to music

There are conflicting reports as to whether music in the workplace can help or hinder productivity, but for many people, listening to music while working (or on the way to or from work) can reduce stress and increase focus. There's some great tips on how to use music specifically to reduce stress here.

Do something active

Getting up from your desk and going for a brief walk around the block can be far more beneficial and productive that continuing to plug away at a particularly stressful task. Most people know that just 30 minutes of walking a day has fantastic physical health benefits, but did you know it also has great benefits for mental health and focus at work?

Spend time doing a hobby

Work-life balance is one of the areas identified in the survey as being a major cause of stress. By having a hobby, something to focus on outside of work, you can go some way towards achieving balance in your life.

Do something spiritual

Something spiritual could be as simple as a 5-10 minute meditation at the beginning or end of your day, or even at your desk. Focussing on your breathing and connecting with your breath can help to still your mind and reduce stress providing you with a sense of peace that can improve your mental health and how productive you are at work!

Do you have any tips for dealing with stress in the work place? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!