Work is one of the biggest causes of stress for many people and can contribute to tension from others parts of our lives. While a small amount of stress may be unavoidable, it is important to take steps to avoid being affected by a lot of it, as this can result in poor physical and mental health.

Stress can put you at risk of serious illnesses, such as heart disease, depression and even diabetes. It has also been linked to an increased risk of obesity, which has health implications as well. This is why it is a good idea to try and steer clear of as much stress as possible, or at least have good coping mechanisms in place.

This means knowing how to leave any stress you might encounter at work there, rather than bringing it home and increasing its negative effect. To help you do this effectively, here are some of our top tips:

Recharge throughout the day

You may be swamped with deadlines or have a lot of work to get through, but not giving yourself a break while you’re actually at work will only increase your stress and mean you’re more likely to take it home with you.

This is why it is important to step away from your desk every now and then and give yourself a bit of a break. Try getting up and moving around for five minutes every hour or so, volunteer to do a coffee run for work colleagues and have lunch away from your desk every day.

All of these things will give your brain a break and help to relieve a bit of stress. You may also find that they help you better solve problems and work better, which can also reduce tension.

Take some time at the end of the day

Transitioning from work to home can be difficult to do, but failing to give yourself a chance to actually make that switch can mean you’re at risk from remaining in work mode when you should be enjoying time with your family or putting your feet up.

Give yourself half an hour when you get home to relax and unwind either when you get home or just before you get in the door. This could be going to the gym, walking home or just watching the TV. So long as you have some time to switch your work brain off, it should help you avoid bringing your stress home.

Set strict work hours

If you’re busy at work or have a big project to complete, it can be tempting to bring work home to get more done in the evening. However, this really blurs the line between home and can actually make it harder for you to stop getting stressed about work when you’re not there.

This is why you should have strict working hours and make yourself stick to them. Getting into a routine will mean it is easier for you to switch from work to home mode, ensuring you relax. This means not bringing work home with you if you can avoid it and doing as little as possible at home if you can’t.

Getting used to only working between 9am and 5pm, or whatever the work hours you set for yourself, will help you to shake off stress and relax. Not only will this help you be more productive when you are working, it will allow you to better enjoy your down time.

Create a work space

In the instance that you do need to work from home every now and then, whether at the weekend or because you have the benefit of flexible working, it is important to create a space in your house that reflects this. Rather than sitting on your sofa in the lounge to work, which can blur the lines between what you do when you’re relaxing and work, make sure you have a space that you use during working hours.

Even if this is just a desk in the corner, it helps to tell your brain and your body that you are working, meaning you don’t end up feeling so stressed outside of work hours, even if you spend the evening in the same room.

As well as having a designated area to work in at home, you should still be sure to stick to your usual routine, as this will further reduce how stressed you feel outside of work.

Say no

When it comes to work, you want to make a good impression as forging good relationships and showing that you are willing to work hard helps you to progress. However, this can mean that you often end up agreeing to things that you don’t have time for, even though you know it will only make you stressed.

While doing well at work is important, you also need to find the right balance so as not to impact your health. This means knowing when to say no to requests or asking for help and extra time if you need it.

If you know that an extra task is going to take too much time, mean you have to work from home outside of your usual hours and leave you feeling tense, you can say no or work to achieve a compromise. Your employer is likely to prefer that you’re honest with them rather than risk illness by trying to do all the extra work that is asked of you.

Exercise regularly

Exercise has been proven to help relieve stress as it gives your mind a break and works out your muscles. Whether you enjoy running, weight training, swimming or aerobic classes, exercise could be the perfect way to help you leave stress at work where it belongs, as well as be better at dealing with it.

Make time to work out regularly and you’ll find you sleep better, can switch off your work brain easier and are better able to relax when at home. On top of this, it will help to improve your health, which is always a good thing.