Five Tips for the Stressed Out Employee

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Image by Ed Yourdon, copy right protected 

Josie, a Career Coach and Advisor, shares five top tips she uses to help the people she works with find better and more effective ways of handling stress at work.

As a Career Coach and Advisor, I have worked for organisations undergoing restructuring with redundancies and supported people who were at risk of losing their jobs.

I noticed many people were able to tolerate a high level of stress and anxiety; some put up with the discomfort as they felt stuck in their situation and thought it was better to wait anxiously in the hope that things would settle.

This is one approach to take, although probably not very good for your health.

Below I have a listed a few others to consider:

1. Keep a record of triggers or factors that are increasing your stress and anxiety levels by recording a daily plan and scoring your level of stress. Identify coping strategies that can help alleviate this. Twining Employment Advisors often help people do this; just talking about anxiety and fear can be a great support.

2. Believing some things are out of your control. Someone I worked with made a shift from stress to calm when she realised that external events and people are outside of her control, e.g. how her colleagues chose to behave.

However, changing her own attitude to a more positive mind-set and not choosing to be reactive, led to a much more civilised working relationship.

3. Not letting anxiety and fear 'feed itself'; the more we think about these, the worse they get. It can become a vicious cycle and so by practising relaxation strategies, identifying triggers and problem solving where possible it may help to bring the anxiety down to a manageable level.  

One exercise that can help allows you to take an observer perspective. Look at yourself from another’s eyes- assess your situation objectively, factually, and without the emotions that can trigger certain behaviours; you can then more easily look for possible solutions to resolve the issues identified.

4. Don’t suffer alone. Keeping stress and anxiety quiet, hoping that it will go away can cause more distress and fear. You can become preoccupied with your own thoughts and trying to manage on your own. Instead, it can be helpful to talk to a trusted friend, or a professional such as your GP, if you recognise that you are becoming increasingly distressed and overwhelmed by work.

5. Finding employment advice. An Employment Advisor can help to offer another perspective. They can tell you where to access support for managing anxiety and stress, offer space to be listened to and heard, help talk you through practical solutions such as adjustments and work plans and, if necessary and agreed by you, engage in communication with the employer to help assert your needs. 

Make your wellbeing a top priority to ensure that you are living the best quality of life possible.

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