Health Advocate Blog

Taking Control of Stress at Work

Whether you’re stressed out at work due to looming deadlines, too much on your plate, or any other reason, you could likely benefit from a little TLC. At work, it’s important to take a little time to care for yourself in order to prevent stress from getting the best of you. If you are an employee looking to better manage your own stress in the workplace, consider using coping strategies. Try the following ideas to help ward off tension that could arise throughout the day.

Spend time alone. Take a 10-minute coffee break in the morning before the day starts, or try a brief, brisk walk in the middle of the work day. This may help you feel calmer and more focused when you come back to your desk.

Take a deep breath. Try some deep breathing techniques at your desk. Inhale deeply, feeling your stomach expand. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then slowly exhale, visualizing tension leaving your body.

Train your brain. Mindfulness training is an emerging stress management technique that involves training the mind to focus attention on the moment. This approach can train you to find the ability to rest and find qualities of peace and relaxation into your everyday life.

Stretch it out. Stretching can easily be done at your desk. Sit in a chair with your upper body resting forward on your lap. Slowly roll up, starting at the base of your spine, until your back is straight. Stretch the neck muscles by titling your head the right and slowly rolling your head down and to the left. Repeat a few times in both directions.

Self- massage. Sit with your shoulder relaxed. Use your right hand to massage your left shoulder and neck, working your way up to the scalp. Repeat using the left hand for the right shoulder.

Positive self-talk. Replace negative mental thoughts that are in response to stress, such as “I’ll never get this done” with positive ones like “I know I can do this.”

Reach out for help. If you have access to Health Advocate, we have several resources that can help you:

  • If you have access to Health Advocate’s EAP+Work/Life service, you can call and speak to a professional about stress, work/life balance, and more.
  • If you are a Health Advocate member, you can call your Personal Health Advocate to help you locate a nearby in-network counselor or other mental health professional that can help you address stress.

While you often can’t control many of the stressors in your everyday life, you can learn to deal with them using coping techniques. When things start feeling too stressful, coping strategies like the ones listed above may be able to help you feel calmer and better able to tackle the tasks at hand.

Resources for employers

  • If your employer has Health Advocate’s EAP+Work/Life service, our Management Assistance Program (MAP) may be able to help you reduce stress in the workplace. MAP can give you the guidance you need to become an even more effective leader. Plus, check out Frontline, our quarterly newsletter full of helpful information for managers and supervisors.
  • Health Advocate’s free white paper “Stress in the Workplace: Meeting the challenge” identifies ways that employers can help mitigate stress in the workplace. Read it today at