How To Manage Stress At Work

Stressed at work?

Who doesn’t talk about stress and feeling stressed? Especially when we feel we have too much to do and too much on our minds or we are dealing with situations that we do not have control over.

We can’t always have control over what happens to us. Pressure is a fundamental part of all work and helps to keep us motivated. Nonetheless excessive work pressure can lead to stress which undermines performance, is costly to employers and can make employees ill. Recent figures show that stress-related absence at work is costing Australian employers about $30 billion per year.

What is stress?

Stress can be defined as “the adverse reaction people can have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them.”  Situations which are recognised to be very stressful are associated with change and with lack of control over what is happening. Recent studies show that this adverse reaction can seriously weaken the quality of people’s working lives and the effectiveness of a workplace. Stress takes many forms. It can affect an employee’s mental and physical health. As stress levels go up, levels of satisfaction and workplace well-being go down.

Stress is not always bad and some of the causes of stress can be happy events, but as they bring big changes or make unusual demands on you, they can still be stressful. Stress can in fact be positive too. Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, improves your concentration or drives you to study or work when you’d rather do something else. When working properly, stress can help us to stay focused, energetic, and alert.

At the end of the day the problem is not stress, is how we react to it. There are some techniques that can help you reduce the effects of stress by being more conscious of the things that cause it, and learning to handle them better. Here are some tips that may come in handy!

Reduce job stress by prioritising and organising your responsibilities.

For time managing

  • Create a balanced schedule. Analyse your schedule, responsibilities and daily tasks. Try to find a balance between work and family life, social and personal activities, daily responsibilities and downtime.
  • Don’t over-commit yourself. Avoid scheduling things back-to-back or trying to fit too much into one day. Sometimes can underestimate how long some tasks can take. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the things you should do and the things you must do.
  • Have a break. Try to get away from your desk for lunch. Stepping away from work to briefly relax and recharge will help you be more productive.

For task management

  • Prioritise tasks. Make a list of tasks you have to do, and tackle them in order of priority. If you have something particularly unpleasant to do, as soon as possible. This will make the rest of your day more pleasant.
  • Break projects into small steps. If a large project seems overwhelming, make a step-by-step plan. Focus on managing one step at a time, rather than taking on everything at once.
  • Delegate responsibility. You don’t always have to do it all by yourself.
  • Be willing to compromise. Try to find a happy middle ground that can help reduce the stress levels for everyone.

Take care of yourself

Sleep is very important to health, and sleep problems, such as insomnia, are a common sign of stress. Physical activity (as long as it is not done excessively) is one of the most effective tool for reducing stress levels and preventing some of its detrimental effects on the body. Exercise helps to use up the hormones that the body produces under stress and relaxes the muscles and can also help to raise self-esteem and reduce anxiety and depression.

Eat well when things get too hectic or difficult, and you feel under stress, it’s often easy to eat food that is not good for us or to miss out on meals. But what you eat, and when you eat, can make a big difference to how you feel and how well you cope.


Making time for regular leisure activities can help you release tension, take your mind off the worries of the day, and increase your productivity at work.

Hope these tips help!

Do you need career guidance or advice? For more information contact our career coach, email or call 1800 483 888.

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About the Author

Soledad Salazar