How to manage your stress

  1. 1 Recognise physical symptoms of stress such as headaches and tension, upset stomach, continual tiredness or problems sleeping.
  2. 2 Recognise behavioural symptoms such as nervousness, irritability, excessive smoking or drinking or communication problems.
  3. 3 Recognise work symptoms: for example, inability to focus, poor decision-making, loss of enthusiasm, feeling overloaded.
  4. 4 Identify any work causes: for example, unrealistic targets and deadlines, bad time-management, overlong hours, or poor working relationships.
  5. 5 Identify any domestic contributors such as money or relationship problems, or bereavement.
  6. 6 Tackle any workplace causes of stress: for example, refuse additional work and delegate any tasks that can be outsourced
  7. 7 Break down big jobs into smaller, achievable tasks, and decide what to prioritise and recognise each step you achieve.
  8. 8 Try to resolve non-work issues. Can you arrange extra assistance with childcare and domestic chores? Consider whether it is possible to take time away from work to unwind and sort out relationship problems.
  9. 9 Accept your limitations and avoid taking stress out on others instead of dealing with the problem.
  10. 10 Get support: talk problems over with friends, join a group of others in a similar position, or get a business mentor.
  11. 11 Get a healthy life: eat properly, take exercise or practise relaxation techniques.
  12. 12 Be active: physical activities and hobbies are far more relaxing and effective at relieving stress than watching television or doing nothing but worry.
  13. 13 Take breaks during the working day; set aside 'quality time' at home, and plan (and take) long weekends and holidays.
  14. 14 Learn how you react to pressure and how you can best deal with stress.

Cardinal rules

Do:

  • learn to recognise the symptoms
  • identify the causes
  • take action to sort out problems
  • pace yourself
  • get support
  • learn to relax

Don't:

  • ignore stress
  • keep problems to yourself
  • take stress out on colleagues and family