The pandemic and more recently the cost of living have put stress centre stage, increasing stress among many of us and perhaps making it feel less manageable. How can we regain connectivity, certainty and control?

Hand squeezing a red stress ball 

Stress is everywhere and something that affects many of us in the workplace. According to the Health & Safety Executive's health and safety statistics for Great Britain in 2022, 1.8 million working people are suffering from a work-related illness, and of these, 914,000 are suffering work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

When the Stress Management Society identified in 2021 that 65% of adults in the UK felt more stressed since the beginning of Covid-19 restrictions in March 2020, it also found that disconnection, uncertainty and a worrying loss of control were the three key causes for concern.

Even though pandemic restrictions are now over, potentially stressful situations can and will continue to appear. Sometimes there are practical steps that could help to improve the situation and remove a source of stress (see our guide to help with money, for example), but it's important to find ways to manage stress when this isn't possible too. 

Ways to cope

Even when things seem uncertain and out of control, there are still strategies that can help us to cope better, prevent stress becoming a problem, and help others.

Mental Health Foundation research from February 2021 discovered that there were common ways for people to cope with the stress of the pandemic. These can apply equally to managing ‘everyday’ stress:

  • going for a walk outside (the top method of coping since April 2020)
  • visiting green spaces (there is evidence that getting into nature benefits mental health)
  • contacting family and friends
  • maintaining a healthy lifestyle – with a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and exercise
  • limiting exposure to news.

Our article How to fight daily stress to stay safe at work offers some tips and suggestions, including drawing up a list of the things you can control and those you can’t, to identify where you can take action, as people tend to feel happier working on what they can control.

Don't forget: 'You're not alone, you're never alone', and talking can really help.

There are more resources and information at the links below.

See also

Practical ways to protect your mental health

What is stress? [Mind charity] – With information on the signs and causes of stress, dealing with pressure and developing resilience

Stress Awareness Month: finding community

Staying safe in stressful times

For managers: Managing stress, fear and anxiety in the workplace (includes webinar)

Burnout: how to recognise the symptoms and how it affects safety

Mental wellbeing: where to get help and how to offer support to others who are struggling

Coping with loneliness