Stress can have a huge impact on our mental and physical health, often without us even realising it. Identifying what makes you feel the most stressed can provide you with the opportunity to take steps to manage it.
June 2023 saw us survey 420 scientific candidates to uncover the biggest source of stress in their standard working week. The results revealed that an 'Unmanageable workload' was the main culprit, with 36% of respondents citing it as their biggest stressor. 'Work/ life balance' was the second most popular cause of stress, with 26% of people citing it as an issue. This was followed by 'Lack of support' (23%) and 'Commuting' (15%).
In this article, we delve more into how to manage stress at work and the steps you can take to help you stay on top of it.
Read on to find out more on:
- Managing your workload
- Attaining work-life balance
- Accessing support
Managing your workload
When it comes to the workplace, feeling stressed is unfortunately a common occurrence. Whether you're juggling multiple projects, dealing with tight deadlines, or fighting your own diligence levels, these situations can leave you feeling overwhelmed and out of control. However, it is important to remember that you are not alone in this.
There are a number of ways to manage your stress levels and help you to stay productive. Take a deep breath and focus on what you can do to manage the stress.
- Communication: Having a heavy workload can be overwhelming, and it's important to communicate with your manager about it. Talk to them about the tasks at hand, and how you can manage them in a realistic way. Make sure to set achievable targets that are realistic and manageable.
- Time management: Know your own limits and be honest with yourself. If you’re struggling to juggle tasks, it might be time to call in for help. Doing too much at once can be detrimental to your productivity. It’s important to take a step back and assess what you’re doing, so you can make sure you’re not taking on more than you can handle.
- Perfectionism: We are often our own worst critics and can find ourselves being too hard on ourselves. It's important to remember that you don't need to be perfect all the time. Be sure to acknowledge your strengths, as well as your limitations.
- Making mistakes: It can be easy to forget, but it's important to remember that mistakes are part of the learning process. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, and instead use them as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Attaining work-life balance
We all know that having a good work-life balance is essential for mental health and wellbeing, but many of us often find it hard to prioritize our own wellbeing and make time for the things we enjoy.
It can be a challenge to find the right balance between work and leisure, but it's important to make time for yourself and to switch off from work. Having a healthy work-life balance can help reduce stress, increase productivity, and promote overall wellbeing.
- Annual leave: If you’re entitled to any annual leave, don’t be afraid to take it. Having regular breaks is important for our mental and physical health. It can also help you become more productive and efficient in the long run. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, a few days off can help you re-focus and restore balance.
- Balance: It’s essential to make time for yourself and to take the time to sustain relationships outside of your job. Whether it's spending time with family, catching up with friends, or even making time for yourself to relax, it's important to make sure you're taking care of yourself.
By taking the time to nurture relationships with people outside of your job, it can help you to maintain a good work/life balance, which can help to keep you motivated and productive in your career.
- Organisation: By taking a few minutes each evening to organise your workspace and plan for the next day, you can ensure that you make the most of your downtime. This can help you switch off from work, equally helping you make the most of your out-of-work hours. This is especially important when working from home, as the line between work and home life can become blurred.
Managing stress is an important part of looking after our mental health and wellbeing. Working life can be stressful at times, so it's important to have a plan in place to manage it effectively.
One of the best ways to do this is to accept help from trusted friends and family. They can provide a listening ear and a different perspective, which can be invaluable in difficult times.
Your employer may also have their own stress management resources available. This could include online information, counselling services, and referral to mental health professionals if needed - so it's worth checking out to make the most of any available support.
Alternatively, if you're feeling overwhelmed or need some help externally, there are a wealth of excellent mental health resources available here in the UK. From helplines and online support groups to websites with mental health advice and counselling services, such as Mind, and NHS, there are many ways to get the help you need.
You may also be interested in:
- 3 Keys to Developing a Career in STEM
- How to Find a Job in STEM and Stay Motivated
- How to Answer Interview Questions: Your Guide to What Interviewers Are Looking For