Unsurprisingly, the UK is a nation of stressed-out workaholics. According to research, 48 per cent of UK workers do little to nothing to relieve work-related stress. A lack of free time is frequently cited as the main reason for this, with money woes also mentioned.
So how do we tackle workplace stress? Luckily, this is something that can be done in and out of the workplace. In this article, we’ll be exploring some of the ways both employers and employees can work on this issue.
Leave work in work
In an ideal world, work should be left in the office, and personal matters should live at home. Creating this distinction and sticking with it can, however, be tricky.
For many of us, thinking of ways to destress makes us think about taking up a hobby or booking in for a massage. But in reality, stressbusting can be as luxurious or as thrifty as you like!
Had a rough week? We all know what that feels like. If you’re looking for a small-scale treat that works wonders on your stress levels, do a quick search for a Thai massage service in your town or city — chances are, there’s one hidden away somewhere near you! This not only a great way to unwind, but also help with relieving muscular tension.
There are cheaper alternatives: run a bath and have a nice, warm soak. Whether it’s just half an hour to yourself with a splash of bubble bath or an hour long, Lush bath bomb-infused and wine-glass-touting home-spa experience, simply allowing yourself a moment away and alone can work wonders for your relaxation. Add in some nice hot water and relaxing fragrances and you’ve got your own mini-destress moment that you can fall back on anytime during the week.
If you’ve finished a big project at work or had a nice little bonus pay come in with your wages, why not treat yourself? A great way to do just that, as well as take a little ‘me-time’ away from work emails and digital distractions is by a little get-away for the weekend. For example, you could book a little cabin by the sea or go to the country or hire cottages in Northumberland – you could even hire one with a hot tub!
You could wander along the coast or take a stroll through the trees. Wherever you decide to go, time away from screens and immersed in nature can certainly be beneficial. According to one study, Alan Ewert and Yun Chang note that “while individuals may select different locations or activities for reducing stress, for many, natural environments may be useful in their attempts to reduce their levels of stress.”
It’s pointless relaxing outside of work only to arrive at the office and be hit with more-than-acceptable levels of stress! There are a number of ways in which the working environment can be made much more efficient in managing stress effectively though.
However, this is more than just adding plants and offering yoga sessions: though both these things can build a better, more positive environment to work in, they don’t address the matter at its core. A little stress is to be expected in the workplace, and so long as it is manageable with the help of aforementioned perks and offers, it can be beneficial. But if the workplace is becoming overwhelmingly stressful for many employees, it is up to the employer to look for, and to deal with the cause directly.
There could also be a communication issue. Take a look at your current methods of communication and processes in the workflow. Are they getting ‘stuck’ at the same point regularly? Highlight these for your employer and suggest a communications review if so.
This could also be a workload issue. Look at your workload realistically — could you address this with better organisation skills, or is your employer genuinely placing too much on your plate?
Learning issues are also common. Do you have the correct tools to manage stress effectively? If not, you may have unwittingly picked up some bad habits for ‘dealing’ with stress along the way. If you suspect this may be the case, it’s certainly worth speaking to your employer about running some wellness workshops to help you learn new, productive ways of not only managing stress, but channelling it more effectively.
For many workers, stress is often mistreated as something to get rid of entirely. In truth, it’s all about managing it at a level where it is a fuel, rather than a hinderance, to your workload. By applying suitable ways to de-stress and reduce this pressure to a manageable, healthy level, you’ll see your productivity and health improve.