With statistics showing that 75% of UK adults and 81% of women saying that they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope in the past year because of stress, a clinical psychologist has shared tips on how to manage stress at work.
With the report from the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) calling for societal change in the way mental health is treated alongside new rules for employers to treat stress, Dr Mark Winwood believes employers have a responsibility to create a work environment where employees feel able to be open and honest with their manager.
In reaction to the findings, he shared 10 tips on managing stress in the workplace:
1. Basic wellness checks – do you need more exercise, better diet, or more sleep? Fairly simple changes can improve your ability to cope with stress at work.
2. Challenge your thinking – do you find yourself taking a negative perspective on work issues? Take some time to focus on the positive.
3. Give yourself time to relax, especially at times of big change, such as starting a new job or taking on a new role.
4. What do you have the power to change? Prioritise these things rather than worrying about areas you can not control.
5. Make lists and plan workloads - ticking jobs off your list will make you feel in control.
6. Do not avoid work entirely - workload will increase and add to your troubles.
7. Identify the real problem - identify what makes you want to phone in sick. Are you afraid of failing? Sometimes we are our own worst critics. Think about what you would say to a friend or a colleague in the same situation: would you be as hard on them as you are on yourself?
8. Look at the great resources that can help build resilience, such as books and websites that offer tools for coping with stress.
9. Do not ignore the people who care - call on friends and family members; asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength.
10. Do not bottle things up - it is helpful to share your concerns.
“Employers have a responsibility to create a work environment where employees feel able to be open and honest with their manager," explained Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services at AXA PPP healthcare. "Equally, managers need to feel confident to have a conversation with their employees about how they are and whether they need any support.
“A manager asking simply ‘How are you feeling today?’ shows they care," he added. "It is also essential that managers can reassure employees that it’s okay not to feel okay and they should feel able to let the employee know about support available to them in the workplace and how to access it."
For more advice and tips on how to deal with mental health in the workplace, visit AXA PPP healthcare’s Mental Health Centre.