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Use this resource page to help you find

ways of improving your well-being at work

Need a listening ear right now? Talk to Samaritans any time you like, in your own way, and off the record – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal.

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Call: 116 123



Back to Wellbeing

Contents of this page

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Signs to be aware of

If your work is causing you to feel undue pressure, you may find that you:

  • often rush to get things done
  • try to be in too many places at once
  • don’t take breaks or miss lunch
  • take work home
  • don't have enough time for exercise or relaxation
  • spend less time with your family
  • don’t take your full holiday entitlement
  • work longer hours.

Symptoms of undue pressure

Everyone reacts to pressure in different ways depending on their personality and individual coping strategies. For some, the pressure can become more than they feel they can cope with.

Common psychological symptoms include:

  • being unable to concentrate
  • losing confidence
  • losing motivation and commitment
  • disappointment with yourself

You might also have emotional symptoms, such as:

  • anxious or depressive feelings
  • increased emotional reactions (for example, you’re tearful or sensitive)
  • irritability or short temper
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • mood swings

You may also get physical symptoms. These may include:

  • diarrhoea or constipation
  • indigestion
  • headaches
  • weight changes
  • chest pains
  • joint or back pain

Your behaviour might also change and may include:

  • eating more or less
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • isolating yourself from others
  • drinking alcohol, smoking or taking illegal drugs to relax.

The Samaritans leaflet and the Symptoms table provide details of symptoms associated with pressure-related illness. 

These signs and symptoms may also be caused by problems outside work. If you have any of these symptoms and signs, see your GP for advice.

How can I get help?

Sometimes all the self-help in the world just doesn't seem to make enough of a difference.

The University provides an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which provides free confidential advice upon request to all members of staff wishing to seek support for work related matters. The self-referral service means you just ring 01225 825960 or 01225 824484 and arrange an appointment direct with the Counsellor.  At busy times you may need to leave a message, but the Counselling Service will get back to you.

An independent telephone counselling service is provided for all non-work related matters and is available from Education Support Partnership

Local and National Help Lines

Of course, you should always seek GP advice if you feel you may be becoming ill.


Web sites, downloads and documents

This quick and simple tick list can be completed in around five minutes to help you decide whether you need to take further action or whether you are managing pressure adequately.  

If you do need to look a little deeper, this questionnaire is a more comprehensive version based on the HSE's six management standards. 

The University's Staff Development web page contains links to the programme of internal training courses and resources, including the Development Toolkit (single sign-on required).

The NHS mood self-assessment tool  takes only a few minutes and you get an instant result with links to other pages suggesting ways to improve your mental well-being in 5 areas:

  • get active
  • connect with others
  • keep learning
  • be aware of yourself and the world
  • give to others.

Focus is a free 121-page e-book containing some simple but inspiring tools for dealing with the myriad distractions that lead us so easily into 'busy work' and get in the way of doing real work.

The Mental Health Foundation booklet Doing Good Does You Good includes simple ideas for boosting your sense of wellbeing by helping others

Mindful Employer resources include:

Keeping Well at Work - practical steps to help staff experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression at any stage of work, sickness absence, or return to work;

Feeling Stressed: Keeping Well - This workbook may be helpful in working to overcome distressing symptoms that can arise from excessive pressure wherever or however it occurs.

Take 11 Minutes (YouTube video) explains how our minds can lead us into unhelpful thinking habits. Mindfulness is introduced as a tool for remaining calm under pressure, and helpful and unhelpful ways of responding to change are explored.

Simple breathing techniques to help you calm nerves: ISMA 60 Second Tranquilliser

Free Mindfulness has free resources to learn mindfulness meditations.

Action for Happiness contains a wealth of ways to make a positive impact on your life both at work and away from work, with plenty of free downloads and video links. Note this is a commercial web site and not all its content/products are free. The free products are worth exploring (we are unable to endorse commercial products).

Hints and tips

Development Toolkit: free online learning for all staff

'Life Hacks'

We are all encouraged to 'work smarter not harder' to cope with increasing demands, but finding ways to short-cut tasks can be challenging. Explore 'Life Hacks' to see if you can discover some tricks to make things easier. There are many web sites out there of varying quality, but a couple of the more practical ones are:

Different things work for different people. If you look at something and it doesn't seem right for you, ignore it - just try the ones that you think could work for you. And resist the urge to try too many different things at once - just do one or two things differently for a while until they become almost second nature, then add another hack.

Change at work

For anyone coping with significant changes, read Responding to change written by Amanda Chapman, our Health and Wellbeing Advisor.

Transition at Work - 7 Tips for coping with change

More tips from around the web

Tiny Buddha ("simple wisdom for complex lives") is a blog-based web site with a wealth of articles full of simple and practical wisdom for dealing with life's challenges.

7 Simple productivitiy tips

8 productvity hacks

Simple actions for increasing your happiness

Rewire your brain for positivity and happiness

Overcoming perfectionism

21 ways to build resilience