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What is stress?

Stress can be defined as 'the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them'. Pressure can be a motivating factor, stress can occur when pressure is perceived to be excessive.

We can all feel stressed at times and feel as though everything becomes too much. We feel as though we are unable to cope. It may be the result of a combination of factors in our personal and working lives. Work-related stress can be tackled by working with your manager to identify issues at source and agreeing realistic and workable ways to tackle these.

Talk to someone you trust. Talking is the first step in regaining control over your life. Talk to your GP, a friend or other trusted source of support. Look after yourself. Take regular exercise, eat healthily and take proper breaks. Try to relax actively though sport or music. Avoid inappropriate coping strategies, particularly drinking, smoking or drugs.

Sources of help and assistance

  • University Occupational Health Service: Provides information, tools and individual advice regarding stress and provides counselling upon request. There is no need to contact your manager to sign up for counselling. However, you can choose to be referred by your manager if you prefer.
  • University People and Organisational Development courses : Provides training centred around personal development and the management of stress.
  • Oxford University IT Services: Provide various courses to support learning computer skills.
  • The Language Centre: Provide support for those individuals for whom English is not their first language.
  • Staff representation bodies: The University works closely with the recognised trade unions on new initiatives and policies which affect staff. The staff representatives also have an important role in ensuring staff welfare and are able to provide advice and assistance to staff on an individual basis.
  • Support for Disabled staff: Advice on support for disabled staff can be sought from the University's Disability Office.
  • Bullying and Harassment: If you consider that you are experiencing bullying or harassment at work please refer to our harassment and bullying pages for more information.

Further information