Managing Workplace Stress - Establishing a Support Network

We have always been told the importance of ensuring we have a good support network in place. Research has actually backed this up, with evidence that social support reduces the strains experienced by work stress.

Talking it out

Whether it is talking about the stressors you are under with a colleague, friend, family member or trusted advisor, this can help to voice the tensions you are experiencing, which you may have otherwise bottled up. This can allow for you to feel like you are being supported, whilst also potentially providing a “clean set of eyes” to provide other perspectives and strategies.

Some people feel that they can’t talk to their superior, but most bosses would like to know when their employees are feeling stressed, and will generally be proactive. There are many things to consider when deciding to talk about your stress and mental health in the workplace and it is important to plan out what you will say when the time comes, the ideal setting and time to address this and how much detail you feel comfortable providing. Heads up is a great place to find additional resources and strategies in how to manage the conversation about stress at work, as well as providing effective information about managing stress in the workplace overall.

Whilst in many cases it may prove beneficial to have the conversation with your boss around managing your workplace stress, it can be hard to decide what is right for you, depending upon your unique set of circumstances. Heads up have designed a three-step tool to help you weigh up these issues, which provides a summary at the end based on how you rated your pros and cons.

Using humour!

Ever heard of the saying “every time you are able to

find some humour in a difficult situation you win”. Well this can definitely be the case for workplace stressors as well. Laughter has been found to be a powerful antidote to stress, as it lowers blood pressure, improves the functioning of the immune system, and as well as this, creates a sense of well-being and happiness.

So if you are feeling under pressure, catch up with a friend or colleague who you know will always make you laugh, watch an amusing tv show or movie, or read a hilarious book. Also, take a step back and have a look at the stressor, perhaps there is a funny side to the situation after all?

Seek additional support as required.

At times, workplace stressors (or any stressors) can become too much to handle on our own, and it is important to recognise where you may need some additional support and assistance. Many workplaces have Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) in place, and you can also seek out health professionals that can assist (e.g. psychologist, GP etc.). There are also many organisations which can provide advice and point you in the direction for further assistance including:

  • beyondblue -

  • -

  • Livin -

  • Black Dog Institute -

  • Grow

There are various national health professional directories available, which may help you find a health professional suitable for your specific needs:

Health Direct Australia - National Health Services Directory

Australian Psychological Society - Find a Psychologist

Australian Association of Social Workers - Find a Social Worker

Occupational Therapy Australia - Find an Occupational Therapist

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists - Find a Psychiatrist

Additional Resources

beyondblue - Finding a Professional

Heads up - Having the Conversation

Heads up - How to talk about it

Heads up - Weigh Up the Pros and Cons

Heads up - Should I Tell my employer

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