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Janine Milne

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In a Nutshell: Five top tips for staying stress-free

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Stress is now the leading cause of long-term sickness absence in the workplace.

A survey published recently by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development and private health insurance company, Simplyhealth, revealed that nearly two-fifths of the 592 UK employers questioned had seen an increase in stress-related absence among their employees over the last year.
 
Typical reasons for this situation included bigger workloads, having a ‘bad’ boss and the fear of being made redundant. So in a bid to help you – and your colleagues – reduce your/their stress levels at work, Lisa Sarjeant, HR director at the CIPD, shares five top tips:
 
  1. Try to address issues that may be affecting your stress levels – especially the ones you can change. For example, is your journey to work having an impact on how you feel when you arrive? Can you alter it or change your journey times to make it less stressful?
  2. Talking to your manager is always a good starting point. But think about your workload and revisit your priorities first – you may find that some activities can wait. Alternatively, you could speak to colleagues about setting more realistic deadlines.
  3. Make use of your employer’s ‘Employee Assistance Programme’ or support helpline if there is one.
  4. Be prepared to delegate. Even if the work doesn’t end up being done to your usual standard, it’s important to empower and develop others. They will improve eventually and your stress levels will drop.
  5. Don’t forget to keep healthy – plenty of exercise and good food will always help to reduce stress levels. Even a short walk at lunchtimes and just swapping fatty snacks for more healthy fruit will help.
 
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