Aha! | Stress Relief Tips
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Stress Relief Tips

Stress Relief Tips

imagesOver the last few weeks, I’ve heard of 4 cases of people being signed off work because of stress. It got me thinking:

  • Are people getting more stressed these days?
  • Are people unable to cope with stress as well as they used to be?
  • Are people feeling that it is more acceptable to admit being overwhelmed by stress?

It’s possible that all of the above is true. Certainly the business world and world in general is waking up to the fact that stress is problem(* facts below). I like to think of this area in terms of pressure and stress. We all have pressure in our lives and pressure can be healthy and motivating. Pressure turns to stress when people become overwhelmed and are unable to cope –  it tips into being damaging and ‘unhealthy’.

The Warning signs and symptoms of stress


What’s important is knowing when we are stressed so that we can do something about before we get seriously ill. Click on the ‘stress symptoms’ link and see if you recognise any of these in yourself.

stress symptoms

Stress relief tips – generally


Here are short-term stress relief methods:

  • Talk to someone! “A problem shared is a problem halved”. It’s true, talking about your stress with a calm and balanced listener will make you feel better instantly. Although it’s not always realistic to have a pal close by to lean on, building and maintaining a friendship network is ultimately good for your mental health.
  • Positive thinking. Try to keep things in perspective and be positive and optimistic. Try to change your way of thinking and avoid negative thoughts, don’t assume the worst – be positive. Whenever you realise that you’re thinking negatively try to find more positive ideas to replace the unhelpful negative ones.
  • Take a break. Feeling overwhelmed, then take a break to regain control and clarity of thought.

Stress relief tips – at work

  • In Meetings. During stressful sessions, stay connected to your breathing. Massage the tips of your fingers. Wiggle your toes. Sip coffee.
  • On the phone. Inhale something energizing, like lemon, ginger, peppermint or coffee beans. While talking, stand up or pace back and forth to burn off excess energy. Conduct phone business outside when possible.
  • On the computer. Work standing up. Do knee-bends in 10-minute intervals. Wrap a soft scarf around your neck. Suck on a peppermint.
  • Lunch breaks. Take a walk around the block or in the parking lot. Listen to soothing music while eating. Have a quick chat with someone you love.
  • Your workspace. Place family photos on your desk and display images and mementos that remind you of your life outside the office. Have ‘executive toys’ to play with e.g. stress balls, dumbbells etc

Long-term stress management


If pressure is getting the better of you on a regular basis then get some help before it causes you serious damage.

About 80 to 90% of the people that I coach have a pressure/stress issue within the area they are working on. It might be presented in a different way, as a leadership or management challenge, but it’s there. The good thing is that executive coaching is highly regarded as a personal development tool these days– an investment in talent by the company. So even if you think that admitting to suffering from stress is a weakness (wrongly, I might add), coaching is a safe and legitimate environment in which to regain control.


  • Stress is the most common cause of long-term absence from work in the UK. CIPD Absence Management Survey 2011
  • Over 9.8 million working days were lost in Britain in 2010/2011 due to work-related stress. HSE stats 2010/11