4 Ways to Talk about Stress at Work (Without Creating More Stress!)

Posted by Becky Squiers on Mon, May, 02, 2016

Stress at WorkStress has been linked with a variety of health problems—mental and physical alike. In fact, 80 percent of workers have reported feeling stress on the job. Nearly half have even said they need help in learning to manage their stress levels.

Your employee wellness program is one way to address your employees’ stress levels. Your wellness program is designed to encourage employee well-being. It’s designed to help your employees feel good so they can work even better.

The challenge, however, is that you might inadvertently be the cause of some of the stress your employees feel. It just comes with the territory of being in a leadership role.

So how you can help your employees manage their stress levels without causing more stress or shaming them for the stress they feel?

Here are four approaches you can take to talk about stress—without causing more stress—and help your employees be their happiest, healthiest selves.

Use positive messaging.

Positive messaging means communicating in a way that brings about positive feelings. It is basically using words and communication that are laced with positivity and optimism. The key to taking advantage of positive messaging, however, is to be genuine. Avoid the communication that sounds fluffy or fake.

We’ve published quite a bit of content about our belief in positivity. One of our great resources is a webinar guide for practicing positive messaging where you work. In that guide, our very own Kenton Hicks describes four elements that can be used to create positive messaging.

Try to focus your communication on being personal, encouraging, passionate and empowering. As you learn to practice these four things, your interactions will become much more positive. Positive interactions are productive interactions and contribute to a positive work environment.

Be broad.

Sometimes the most stressful thing is to be told you’re too stressed. Being approached directly about how you do or don’t manage your stress can feel like an attack. It also inspires a negative conversation focused on what’s going wrong.

We believe the best way to address any health issue is to focus on what’s going right, and what that means for you as a person. Rather than keeping your focus narrow, broaden your scope by talking about the importance of mental health as a whole. Within the broad scope of mental health, educate your employees on its role in their lives.

Be specific.

We like to keep you on your toes. While it’s important to be broad when it comes to addressing the problem, it’s equally important to be specific when it comes to communicating the solution. There’s nothing worse than being told where you fall short without any advice on how to improve.

When it comes to communicating with and educating your workforce about stress relief, you need to be specific. Give them steps to follow and strategies to adopt. The easier it is to take steps towards healthy stress management, the more likely your employees will be to accept the challenge.

Draw on your own experiences.

Unfortunately, everyone has felt stressed at some time or another. Don’t let your employees feel alone in their search for a healthy way to manage their stress. Because they’re not.

In fact, we’d be willing to be that you (yes, you) has dealt with stress before. Share your story! Open up and draw on your own experiences. That might involve empathizing with a heavy workload, sharing your favorite stress relievers, or drawing on some tasteful humor to lighten the mood. Look inside of you and your experiences to find a relatable, reliable way to talk about stress with your employees.

If you haven’t jumped on the holistic health bandwagon, we think you’re a little late to the game! Mental health is a huge component to a healthy lifestyle. Half the battle is in your mind. Plus, poor mental health is linked with a multitude of physical health risks as well.

Stress that goes unchecked can wreak havoc on your employees’ mental health. Yes, some stress is normal in the workplace. You might even be in an interesting position as the source of that workplace stress.

There are plenty of ways, though, that you can use your employee wellness program to address stress and mental health among your workforce. Take these four back to your wellness team, and let us know how they’ve worked for you in the comments below!

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Topics: Healthy Workplaces, Wellness at Work


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