Six ways project managers can manage stress

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Gillian Jones-Williams sets out six tried and tested strategies that project professionals can use to help manage stress levels at work.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in almost seven people experience mental health problems in the workplace, which accounts for around 14.7 per cent of the working population.

This year has bought with it new levels of uncertainty. One interesting factor for me with COVID-19 has been the hugely increased stress caused by social media.

Many people have mentioned to me that they don’t remember SARS, which was in 2002 – probably because social media wasn’t a ‘thing’ back then. For me, the stress of thousands of conflicting stories, predictions, thoughts, so-called evidence and advice became so overwhelming that it got to the point where I had to do some mental readjustments to help stay focused and positive.

Stress is a very normal response to lack of control, uncertainty and change – as humans we crave control and when that is taken away from us, we often feel as if our mental health is suffering.

But what is the difference between pressure and stress? And can stress be avoided or managed? Pressure is often caused when there is a huge amount of work to do and tight deadlines, whereas stress is more about the things we perceive that are unmanageable.

For project managers used to managing people, moving deadlines and complex stakeholders, the balance to strike is being able to moderate stress levels for optimal performance while avoiding situations that feel unmanageable.

Read the six techniques that you can use for managing your mental health during high-stress situations.Read more


Posted by Gillian Jones-Williams on 22nd May 2020

About the Author

Gillian Jones-Williams founded Emerge Development Consultancy in 1995.  Gillian works internationally with clients to develop leaders and transform cultures. She is also an author, master executive coach and motivational speaker. She works with many Executive Boards and Senior Executives. Gillian also champions womens development delivering her trademarked women’s development programme RISE in both the UK, Middle East and Saudi Arabia. 

Gillian has worked for 25 years with Project Management organsiations in many different sectors including aerospace, defence, construction and many others often delivering week long programmes with progject managers on project improvement.

Gillian was named as one of the top UK Female Entrepreneurs 2020 in the #ialso100, campaign born from International Women’s Day 2018 by f:Entrepreneur, who named a collection of 100 female entrepreneurs inspiring their peers and communities.

Gillian will be presenting as part of APM’s Power of Projects Takeover virtual event on Tuesday 2 June. Visit to book your free place.

You may also be interested in
• Sellafield’s mental health first approach to construction projects
• How project managers can look after their health in trying times
• Three steps to build your resilience and grow as an individual

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