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National Stress Awareness Day: How do you cope with stress?

6 months ago by James Kenealey

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National Stress Awareness Day occurs on the first Wednesday of every November.

It was first created in 1998 and the aim is for it to be a full day of reinforcing and increasing public awareness and help people recognise, manage and reduce stress in their personal and professional lives. It is the centrepiece of Stress Awareness Week, which runs from 1st to the 5th November.

Throughout the week, discussions are invited to take place concerning:

  • Experience’s people have with mental health challenges and what can be done to help them

  • How employers are responding to mental health issues and what can be learnt

  • The role of stress management professionals to mental health issues and what can be learnt

  • The role of stress management professionals in alleviating stress with practical and proven techniques for building resilience

  • What further actions need to be taken in the light of the pandemic and workplace changes such as hybrid working

  • Ensuring those who suffer from stress know where they can find advice and support

For this year’s National Stress Awareness Day, the team at The Bridge share their thoughts on coping with stress in the workplace:

Jess Thompson, Business Improvement Manager

"Everyone gets stressed from time to time, whether its home life or something at work - sometimes even the tiniest things can just tip you over the edge. For me, talking to my colleagues really helps. I’m fortunate to work with an amazing bunch of people who I can seek support from. I’m fairly open with speaking up about what I’m feeling or struggling with but I appreciate not everyone is so if I ever spot the signs in someone else that they might be feeling stressed or struggling that particular day I’ll always reach out even just a small conversation about something non-work related can really help how someone is feeling.

If I need to de-stress and take some time out for myself outside of work I love to go swimming or walk my dog or indulge in one of my creative hobbies. I’ve been bodypainting for years and can easily sit in front of the mirror for hours working on a creative look to help me de-stress. I also took up the hobby of model making during lockdown and it’s become another huge passion of mine. Giving myself a creative outlet really helps me feel less stressed and focus on myself so I can go back to work feeling recharged and ready to deal with whatever was stressing me out in the first place."

Kieron Hinchcliffe, Director

For me, one of the biggest things that helps with stress is definitely walking my dog Luca and being outdoors in the fresh air. The mental and physical benefits are huge. Getting outside in nature in general is the best thing for me when it comes to switching off and being able to de-stress, that can be as simple as spending time in my garden to a long walk with my dog. Even my holidays are always outdoor and wildlife related as it’s the best thing for helping me truly escape and switch off from work and all of life’s woes! I’d have to say though whatever it is that gives you that sense of freedom, be it spending time with family, meeting friends or taking in a football match, doing ‘something’ is always better than doing ‘nothing’. And the best bit is, most of the things that really give you pleasure in life are free!

James Milner, Executive Director

"Stress often has negative associations with poor mental health, anxiety etc, and in my opinion, this is certainly a big problem in modern-day society. However, again, in my opinion, not all stress is a bad thing – as humans we need a certain amount of stress to motivate us into action. A recent quote I read, which I can identify with is “working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion”.

In terms of getting away from the stress (or passion) of anything in work or life I find that I need to do something which quietens my mind. The things that work best for me tend to be focused on exercise or mindfulness. Exercise wise I love getting outside and going mountain biking, snowboarding (when we can get away) and anything that is outside and hard work. I love yoga and try to practise at least 3 or 4 times a week, and I’m a relatively recent convert to meditation, usually through the App Headspace, and I try to do this every day."

​Hannah Lancaster, Commercial & Finance Manager

"For me exercise is a must! It’s not always easy to be motivated to move when I am feeling stressed but once I do it always helps! Fresh air, loud music or a podcast and a good walk always helps me clear my head and switch off whether it is job-related stress or personal stress. I have also found within the last year working from home it is harder to switch off from job-related stress. This is because when I finish work, I don’t have the journey home to unwind or the change in environment of office to home. When I feel like this, I find getting out the house a great way to switch off from work-related stress. For me if it is not exercise, I mostly like to meet a friend in a local pub and have a good vent!"

​Over the last few years, mental health has, quite rightfully, been in the spotlight. More than ever, people are realising the impact of poor mental health both inside and outside the workplace – as such mental wellbeing is high on the agenda for most employers.

The topic of mental health isn’t new to us at The Bridge or within the wider Morson Group – it’s been part of our conversation for several years. Our activity has centred on creating a culture and working environment which is open, unbiased and inclusive, underpinned by professional support and resources for employees in need. Our workforce has received training on mental and emotional wellbeing and our Mental Health First Aiders are colleagues who are trained to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health and provide help on a first aid basis in the same way that a physical first aider would.

The Morson Group ex-forces ambassador Andy Reid recently recorded an interview offering his tips on overcoming adversity. Click here to find out more