By Vanessa Choo

​Meetings. Urgent emails. Deadlines. We face these and more on a daily basis and it certainly amounts to some unavoidable stress at the workplace.

However, if managed properly, we can prevent these stressors festering into something more serious such as burnout and even depression.

Here are five simple and effective self-care tips by Koh Chee Wai, Master Medical Social Worker, SGH:

  1. Pace yourself!
    Rome was not built in a day. Great things take time, so  pace yourself by learning how to prioritise tasks and manage your time better. 

  2. Cultivate relationships
    Building supportive relationships with our co-workers is important, especially during times of crisis where we may need to depend on one another for support. Why not have lunch together, or make time for morning coffee with your colleagues?

  3. Practise positive thinking
    While you may not be able to change a situation, practicing optimism helps one form a different perspective so as to avoid dwelling on the things that are out of our control. Practice mindfulness and focus on the good things happening around you!

  4. Setting and maintaining clear personal boundaries
    Even Superman can have a bad day. Setting and maintaining boundaries will allow you to become more aware of your limitations. Understand that you cannot take responsibility for everything in life, and learn to say “no” at appropriate times.

  5. Reward yourself
    Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Celebrate small victories and remember to give yourself a pat on the back with every little success.


While some workplace stress can be healthy, when it starts to overwhelm you, stop and take a moment to consider how not every situation is as bad as it seems. Talk to someone you are comfortable with – a mentor, a trusted colleague, a close friend and give yourself the permission to seek help when you really need it. Above all, maintain a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and exercise, and make time to destress and indulge in your hobby or take a vacation if you need to.

If you are keen to learn more about mental health and become a peer supporter, please email on the “Assisting Individuals in Crisis” and “Mental Health First Aid” courses for more information.  You may also wish to participate in talks or short courses provided by external organisations such as The Counseling Place or Samaritans of Singapore (SOS).