Workplace stress and fatigue (aka burnout) can strike anyone in any profession. If you’ve been there, you would know what it’s like.

The feeling of constantly battling with your morning alarm as you haul yourself out of bed struggling to keep your eyes open. You’re already on your third cup of coffee and it’s only 10 am in the morning! All you want to do is to quietly slump over your desk, close your eyes and wish that your day could be over already.

This year for World Day For Safety And Health at Work 2019, the focus is to tackle job burnout and work together to address this issue. The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) recognized the top three culprits of poor mental health at work are: high workloads, poor work/life balance, and stressful work.

As HR professionals, it is important to improve mental health in the workplace as it impacts people’s ability to do their job properly and feel good about it. Furthermore, it affects workplace relationships which can also carry on into their personal life. We need to actively understand the causes of stress and fatigue in the workplace, and find ways to support individuals and resolve these issues together.

Sometimes, stress can be a good thing as it’s a normal and healthy response to help motivate us to overcome challenges. It also encourages us to improve our performance. But good stress doesn’t last long, it feels good and is manageable making you feel excited once you’ve overcome it. Bad stress induces anxiety and feels horrible when we feel incapable of coping with it or overcoming it and especially when it becomes a constant over time.

Now that we’ve identified the issue, what proactive actions can we take to turn bad stress into good stress?

  1. Refuel

To keep moving forward, we need to ensure that we have enough fuel in the tank to get us through the day. Just as a car needs fuel to get from A to B. Do things which spark joy to revigorated and revitalize yourself. Do something good for yourself because you deserve it and need it. This can be something as simple as going to bed early and having a good nights sleep so that you are re-charged and in a better mind set to take on the day.

  1. Resolve

Face your issues head-on and identify the source and triggers of your stress and how we react to those situations. We may not have control over situations that cause us stress, but what we can change is how we respond to them. Support and help from trusted friends and colleagues are crucial to processing your thoughts and identifying what your next steps are to get you back up. Don’t be afraid to talk to people about it. The more you share the less the load becomes.

  1. Relax and switch off 

To minimize the harmful effects of long term stress, we need to press pause and relax to allow your body to recover. Do a simple breathing exercise by closing your eyes and slowly breathe in and out. Focus on the sounds of your surroundings and let the world pass by just for a moment. Put your mobile device away and stop being distracted by what other people are doing and use that time to relax and focus on you and the ones you love.

Take the proactive approach and go onto the Mental Health Foundation website for their Working Well Resources to protect people’s mental health.