It’s completely normal to feel stressed or burned out, it’s important to recognise these signs or feelings and how to overcome them.

It's helpful to learn how to manage stress caused by work. If you often experience feelings of stress, you might be at risk of developing a mental health problem like depression or anxiety.

What is stress?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your to-do list seems endless, deadlines are fast approaching and you find yourself saying ‘Eek! I feel stressed!’? But what is stress really, and how does it affect us?

Stress is primarily a physical response. When stressed, the body thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing a complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine to prepare the body for physical action.

Recognising the signs of stress

Memory problems
Inability to concentrate
'Brain Fog'
Starting many tasks but achieving little
Self doubt

Fatalistic Thinking
Feeling overwhelmed

Chest pain
Rapid heartbeat
Aches and pains
Frequent colds
Skin complaints
High blood pressure

Increase intake in alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine to relax
Isolating yourself from others
Loss of sense of humour


Coping with stress
If you feel that you recognise these signs of stress in yourself, you may wish to try some of the suggestions below:

Learn different coping techniques. Everyone deals with stress differently, so take time to find methods that work for you. Professor Cooper has suggested 10 stress busters which you can find on the NHS website.
Try practising mindfulness. This practice is about focusing on the here and now. It might help you to find calmness and clarity to respond to stressful situations. See our pages on mindfulness and join a free class today to learn more.
Look after your physical health. Eat well and try a gentle activity like going for a walk or doing a chair-based exercise. Our pages on nutrition and physical exercise have more details on how this can help your mental health.

Managing common stressful situations at work
If you feel stressed by a certain problem at work, you might not be alone in this. Anyone can experience some of these common stressful situations in the workplace. The important thing is understanding how to manage them.

Ask your manager for help. Discuss your workload with your manager. Try setting realistic targets and talk about how you can solve the issues you're having.
Try to balance your time. You might be doing too much at once. If you don't give each task your full attention, it can take longer. Try to claim your time back if you ever need to work extra hours to get something done.
Reward yourself for achievements. Rather than only focusing on work that needs to be done next, reward yourself for tasks you’ve completed. Your reward could be taking a break to read, do a puzzle, chat with co-workers or spend time outside.
Be realistic. You don't have to be perfect all the time. You might find that you're being more critical of your own work than you need to be. Work within your limitations and try to be kind to yourself.

Do you think you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD? Find out more here


Take a look at some other free webinars that are also related to managing stress and anxiety - click here for a list of all the webinars

Leaflets and guidebooks

Stress - An NHS self help guide
In this self-help guidebook from the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, they provide information on: What stress is, the signs of stress, causes of stress, how we can manage stress in our body, how we can manage our stressful thoughts, how we can manage our stressed behaviour, what to do if stress is work related, how to beat stress and other useful organisations and resources. Click here for the Accessibility and Translation version
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