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International Stress Awareness Week 2021

This week is International Stress Awareness week which aims to raise awareness about stress prevention and reduce the stigma associated with stress and mental health issues. Stress currently affects a huge portion of the UK population, with 74% of people saying that stress has made them feel overwhelmed and unable to cope.¹ In this blog Barry Swire, Operations Director, provides some tips on supporting yourself and others during stressful times, and how the Sustaining Resilience at Work (StRaW) programme helps staff at Cygnet Health Care.

With almost three quarters of us feeling overwhelmed by stress at times, it is important that we recognise the signs in ourselves and others, and offer or access support where we can. It’s been an especially tough 18 months for everybody, the pandemic has challenged those from every walk of life, and when it comes to mental health, resilience has been tested more than ever.

Signs of stress can be physical and psychological such as; headaches, stomach problems, feeling tired, poor concentration and irritability. Although we all respond differently, some common behaviours you may notice in others might be; changes in eating habits, trouble sleeping, rushing tasks or avoiding others.

There are lots of ways we can help someone who is feeling stressed, sometimes you may recognise it in them before they do. Let them know, gently, and ask how you can help. Being available to listen to how someone is feeling and providing reassurance could be enough to ease some of their anxiety. Be open, non-judgemental and empathetic, remind them that stressful situations can pass and things can get better.

Some people may benefit from professional help, perhaps they are too anxious to make a GP appointment, or feel overwhelmed at the thought of going alone. Could you help them make or attend an appointment?

It is important to remember to look after your own wellbeing, if those around you are stressed, it is easy to become stressed too. If this happens, try to take a step back and take some time to do things that you find relaxing.

Some things you can try to look after your wellbeing are:

  • Talk to someone about how you feel
  • Be active
  • Avoid unhealthy habits like drinking or eating too much
  • Practise mindfulness or meditation
  • Find a hobby

There are lots of contributing factors to stress for those living in the UK, with the most common being money worries, not getting enough sleep and health concerns. However almost a quarter of us say that work in general causes us stress.² But how can we support each other in the workplace?

At Cygnet Health Care we know that working in high pressure environments can be stressful at times, which is why we set up the StRaW (Sustaining Resilience at Work) Peer Support Programme. StRaW can help detect and prevent occupational health issues and boost psychological resilience. We have practitioners placed across all services who can offer individual management plans to support those who need it.

The programme can be accessed by individual staff and also via a referral from a service manager.

For more information on the StRaW programme and how to build resilience within a team you can listen to the following podcast I recorded recently.

You can listen to other episodes in our ‘Changing Lives’ series via the link below
https://www.cygnethealth.co.uk/podcasts/changing-lives/season-1/

¹ Mentalhealth-UK
² CIPHR

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