Do you need to talk to your boss about feeling stressed?

Do you need to talk to your boss about feeling stressed?

Mental health issues don’t discriminate and can often feel like they’ve come without warning.

One day you’re smashing it at work, meeting deadlines, delivering on projects, impressing your boss with great ideas and generally being a workplace superstar. Then you wake up one morning feeling like a different person, down, confused, anxious and depressed. These feelings might follow a prolonged period of hard work, difficult deadlines and the need to deliver beyond expectations.

Stress is something we have all felt at one time or another, we all have stressful moments at work, however, if work related stress is affecting your mental health and wellbeing it might be time to discuss the matter with your boss.

Workplace mental health and wellbeing specialists Three Eggs Training suggest the best course of action to follow if you need to have this conversation.

Prepare yourself

Before you even begin to consider that conversation, consider keeping a diary that documents your stress and what may be triggering it. If it is consistently work based issues that trigger these issues, you need to be very clear. Are you struggling with a colleague? Is your commute stressing you out or is it the constant deadlines you are being set?

This evidence is not only a great to resource to log your own personal journey, but as evidence and reference when discussing the matter with your boss. You need to go into that meeting prepared, weaponize yourself with evidence to ensure you do not become flustered and you have points you can reference.

The diary will give you some idea of the situations that trigger you.

At what stage do you address it with your line manager?

Disclosing such a personal health matter is a decision for you alone. However, if your wellbeing is interfering with your ability
to do your job, if you’re feeling you may need time away from the workplace, or you need to take time off to attend counselling sessions, you
may need to inform your employer sooner, rather than later.

This does not mean they have to know ALL the information. You can choose to impart as much or as little as you are comfortable with.

Expect some discomfort…

Be prepared to go into that meeting expecting it to be uncomfortable. You should be prepared to tackle this at the beginning of the meeting by advising your boss that you’re in an unfamiliar situation. Try starting with “I hope you don’t mind me raising this, it is really hard for me to discuss this……”. It will help you to call out the elephant in the room and begin the conversation honestly and positively.

Human Resources Vs Line Manager

If you are lucky, you will have awesome relationship with your manager. It is much easier to explain to someone you trust, how your mental health has affected you personally and professionally. If you’re not so lucky, you should consider contacting your HR department first. They will be better equipped at dealing and more able to assist in such a complex area.

Have the answers ready

It is likely your boss will ask you for suggestions on how to improve your workplace stress. Make sure you have a plan and solutions for tackling the problem. Perhaps remote or flexible working is the solution? Do you need additional support to help with difficult projects? Would changes to your working area help?

Remain open minded

Your boss may also have his/her own solutions and they might not fit in with your own agenda, however consider each option carefully and do not be quick to dismiss their ideas. If you have concerns about how your boss might react to your concerns, consider asking a colleague to attend the meeting with you.

What if it doesn’t work?

If you have discussed the issue with your boss or HR department and nothing has been done to combat your stress, then you should contact a union representative or ACAS for further advice.

Your health should be your priority

Never underestimate just how important your mental wellbeing is. You are a valued employee. It is not your fault this happened to you.

We all deserve to be happy in the workplace, and the likelihood is that your boss will be committed to helping you improve your health and

If you are an employer looking to better support your employees Three Eggs Training have a range of solutions to help businesses with workplace health and wellbeing. From training courses to full programmes and mental health first aider training. Visit their website at for further information.

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