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Work Smart, Less Stress (#Stress #WorkStress)

The Health and Safety Executive defines stress as: ‘…the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demands placed on them.’

Work related stress is the second biggest cause of absenteeism from work.

Pressure V Stress:

These can be seen as being on different ends of the same continuum.

Pressure can be positive- a powerful motivator; driving us to succeed.

However there comes a tipping point- when it becomes excessive- it goes to the other end of the scale –towards stress- and starts to trigger symptoms within us that let’s us know that we need to regroup/ rebalance… we all have our little indicators.

For some it may be headaches, rubbing the eyes, difficulty concentrating, feeling easily irritated, overwhelmed.

It is ok if you touch the stress end of the scale briefly then redress the balance. It is when people don’t and it becomes the norm to work in high pressure / stressful circumstances that these ‘little indicators’ (after being ignored for so long) might lead to anxiety, depression, heart disease, back pain, etc.

What you can do about it?


  • Bring an awareness to your responses when you begin to be ‘stressed’
  • Identify the circumstances in your personal/ work life that you find stressful. List these and how you are affected by these stresses?
  • How are others around you affected by you/ your responses to these stresses?
  • Identify what you can do to limit the impact on you and those around you.
  • Prepare others around you e.g. inform them that this can be a difficult time…etc

Work Smart:

  • Take regular breaks/ time out/ fresh air
  • Have clear boundaries e.g. predetermine how long this situation will last/ what is healthy for you to tolerate


  • Eat a balanced diet/ no caffeine/ sugar/ smoking
  • Exercise/ be social/ remember humour!
  • Have a manicure, massage or facial

Sometimes when people are experiencing more severe stress, it can be difficult to work out a way forward so it can be helpful to get a 3rd party perspective e.g. from trusted friends, family or a professional.

A professional can help you to work out:

  • Time management/ Prioritisation techniques tailored to you/ your needs,
  • Strategies to smartly introduce a healthy work-life balance,
  • Helping you to set SMART Goals that are realistic and achievable and help you to see a way forward and how this is possible.
  • Opportunity to talk about the emotional experience and impact of the situation on your self esteem and confidence.

In other cases, the work organisation might require to review their working conditions, managerial training, graded return to work programs, help with organisational change to promote more effective working conditions, etc.

In Summary, I will say: work smart and you too can avoid stress in the workplace!

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