Tips for managing personal stress

Coping with the immediate effects of stress

Talk to someone

Whilst many of us might pride ourselves in our ability to 'cope', it is advisable to speak to someone when you are experiencing stress. Oxford Brookes has an Employee Assistance Programme that provides access to trained counsellors as well as other resources. Your GP is also there to provide advice.

See the Help and Support webpage for more information on the support available.

You are also encouraged to speak to your line manager, especially if there are work related factors involved.

Breathing exercises

It may sound overly simple, but breathing exercises are one of the best ways to deal with the immediate effects of stress. It helps to 'cool down' our nervous system which creates the feelings and symptoms we experience. This helps us to then be able to better focus on dealing with the underlying issues. You can do these techniques wherever or whenever you feel the effects of stress, worry or anxiety: 

Square or Box breathing - this YouTube video on square breathing can help you to develop the practice.

Five Finger Breathing - watch this TED video on five-finger breathing which can help you to develop the practice.

Meditation and mindfulness

You might also find meditation or mindfulness useful. The following links take you to some resources designed to help with stress management:

Tips for managing pressure and reducing stress

There are various steps you can take to cope with being under pressure which some people find useful, but it's important to remember that different things work for different people. Only try what you feel comfortable with.

  • Identify your triggers - Working out what may trigger stress can help you prepare for it. Even if you can't avoid these situations, being prepared can help. 
  • Organise your time - Changing the way we organise our time can help us feel more in control. 
  • Address some of the causes - If you can, let people know if their demands are unreasonable or unrealistic or ask someone if they can help. 
  • Accept the things you can't change.

Mental health charity Mind's website gives further advice and tips on managing stress and pressure.

The short video by Braive also gives you an understanding of some coping skills you can use to better regulate stress.

The International Stress Management Association (ISMA) provide the following tips and guidance

Engaging with wellbeing resources

The University’s policy for the prevention and management of work-related stress recognises the duty of care it has towards its staff and the legal duty it has to identify, assess and respond to occupational causes of stress. It also notes the need for us all to take reasonable care of our own health and wellbeing and to take advantage of opportunities for counselling, training or other relevant activities when recommended.  

This template provides an opportunity to reflect on possible actions and available resources to support your wellbeing. 

The University runs a range of relevant courses and e-learning, visit the wellbeing and personal resources section in Staff Learning and see our other pages on improving wellbeing and strengthening personal resources to find out more.