For many of us Christmas signals a time to relax and take a well-earned break from work. This time off allows us to recharge and connect with what’s important to us, but for some it can also highlight how unhappy we are at work.
If the thought of returning to work fills you with dread, you are not alone. Workplace stress is becoming increasingly common in the UK, leading to both mental and physical illness. There can be many reasons why you feel stressed in your job, from high pressure situations and a strained workload to workplace bullying and lack of work-life balance.
Whatever the cause of your stress, there are ways to tackle it. Take a look below for some suggestions to help you lower stress at work in 2016:
Learn to say no (the right way)
At work it’s easy to think you have to say yes to every request. You may think by saying no you are letting someone down or showing that you aren’t capable. This isn’t true. Being realistic in your time management is the only way to ensure you’re giving your all to the job without spreading yourself too thin.
When you next get a request you can’t carry out, instead of just saying no, be sure to outline your reasons and try to think of an alternative solution. If you can offer some ideas to help the person who sent the request, they’re more likely to accept your answer. If they push the issue, remain assertive.
Ask for help
There are some points in your career when you’ll need support – either from your colleagues or your manager. Speaking out and asking for help when you need it stops situations from snowballing to the point where you feel overwhelmed.
Take breaks and leave on time
Be strict with this and schedule breaks into your day. Even on your busiest days, try to step away from your desk for 20 minutes. If you are overworked your stress levels are likely to rise. Leaving on time is also important for maintaining work-life balance. Tell your colleagues that you are leaving on time and if they need you they can email you – and you will pick it up during working hours the next day.
Nurture your life outside of work
Having a life outside of work offers perspective when things get stressful and helps you feel more content day-to-day. Make time to see your friends and family to remain social. Spend time on a hobby or activity you enjoy and plan trips for your time off.
Speak to a professional
If you feel stress at work is affecting your mental health, it can help to speak to a professional counsellor. Talk therapy can help in many ways, from helping you devise coping strategies to learning to be more assertive. Sometimes it’s the simple act of talking to someone who isn’t involved at work that can help.