With Christmas almost on your doorstep, are you feeling stressed?

The shops and high streets are packed with shoppers and whilst it’s a great time of year, Christmas can be a frantic race to get everything sorted and plans for house guests and visitors confirmed. It is exhausting!

This article made me smile as I’ve had many of these thoughts!

10 thoughts everyone has when out Christmas shopping

And when you are due to work right up until Christmas Eve, the pressure really is on! So what’s your secret to managing it? Do you use any of them in the workplace to help you manage stresses there?

For many of us, there is no let up with the holiday as many of us are planning or ‘to do’ list for January and Q1 2015!

But Christmas aside, tension and anxiety are very common problems in society today and many people will suffer from symptoms of stress at some time in their lives. As the effects of stress can be, at the very least, unpleasant, it is useful to know how to manage and reduce the stress in our lives. There are numerous steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of being affected by stress and many of them are a matter of common sense.

So with this in mind, here are 5 simple tips to help you minimise of avoid stress in the workplace:-

1. Talk it over

Do not try to cope with problems alone.

Having someone to share your problems can greatly help to ‘offload’ the stress. You might find it useful to talk to a friend or work colleague or to your line manager or employer if you are experiencing stress in the workplace.

Talking can work by either distracting you from your stressful thoughts or by releasing some kind of built-up tension by discussing it.

Stress can cloud your judgement and prevent you from seeing things clearly.

Talking things through with a friend, work colleague or even a trained professional can help you to find solutions to your stress and put your problems into perspective.

2. Take control

Stress can be triggered by a problem that may on the surface seem impossible to solve.

Learning how to find solutions to your problems will help you feel more in control and thereby lower your feelings of stress.

One problem solving technique involves writing down the problem and coming up with as many possible solutions as you can.

Decide on the good and bad points of each one and select the best solution.

Write down each step that you need to take as part of the solution: what will be done, how it will be done, when it will be done, who is involved and where it will take place.

3. Manage your time

At times, we all feel overburdened by our ‘To Do’ list and this is a common form of stress.

Accept that you cannot to everything at once and start to prioritise and diarise your tasks. Make a list of all the things that you need to do and list them in terms of genuine priority.

Note what tasks you need to do personally and what can be delegate to other people.

Record which tasks need to be cone immediately, in the next week, month, or when time allows. By editing what might have started out as an overwhelming and daunting task list, you can break it down into a series of smaller, manageable tasks spread out over a longer time frame, maybe with some tasks removed from the list entirely, thanks to your delegation.

Don’t fill your schedule completely – allow 10% buffer time to deal with any unexpected emergency tasks and to include time for your own relaxation and thinking time.

4. Learn to say ‘no’

A common cause of stress is having too much to do and too little time in which to do it.

And yet despite this, many people will still agree to take on additional responsibility. Learning to say ‘no’ to additional or unimportant requests will help to reduce your level of stress and may also help to enhance your self-confidence.

To learn to say ‘no’ you need to understand why you find it difficult. Many people find it hard because they want to help and are trying to be nice and to be liked. For others, it’s a fear of conflict, rejection or of missed opportunities.

Remember that these barriers to saying ‘no’ are all self-created. You might feel reluctant to respond to a request with a straight ‘no’ at least at first. Instead, thing if some pre-prepared phrases such as:

“I’d love to do this, but…”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities right now.”

“Now is not a good time as I’m in the middle of something. Why don’t you ask me again at …?”

5. Act on it

Unfortunately, many people don’t act positively to reduce the stress in their lives until physical symptoms force them to consider how their lifestyle is affecting their well-being.

Don’t leave stress unchecked or wait until it makes you ill. Learn to recognise when you are stressed and take steps to minimise or avoid stress.

Happy Christmas!

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