Here are some pointers you might find useful:
- Talk to someone you trust, at work or outside work. Speak to your union rep if you have one. Talking is not a sign of weakness, but the first step in regaining control over your working life.
- Think about where and when you experience the most stress. Is it at home or at work? Are you trying to meet impossible demands? Where do they come from? Listen to your feelings.
- Look for warning signs. Each of us has our own stress response, or 'fingerprint'. It may be a headache, diarrhoea, losing sleep or loss of concentration. Watch out for increases in tension, irritability and moodiness. These changes may be more obvious to other people than to you.
- Visit your GP. Tell your GP about your work and your health symptoms. You may need time off work to decide what you are going to do.
- If your GP surgery is linked to a community Occupational Health project, contact one of their advisers (find out more in our section on Community Help).
- Use a helpline. Many employers, unions and voluntary agencies offer confidential advice on tackling stress.
- Look after yourself. Take regular exercise, eat healthily and take proper breaks, such as at least half an hour at lunchtime. Avoid excessive caffeine. Try a creative activity, such as learning a musical instrument, or a new sport.
- Avoid 'false friends', particularly increased drinking, smoking or drugs.