Dealing with Stress – in Support of Stress Awareness Month
It’s Stress Awareness Month!
Stress Awareness Month is held every April since 1992 to raise awareness on what causes stress and how we can help both ourselves and others deal with stress, taking the time to really look at this rising epidemic has become more important than ever. Especially because, the last two years have been so challenging.
The Stress Management Society, a wonderful, non-profit organisation dedicated to helping individuals and companies recognise and reduce stress recently stated that:
‘The last two years have been the most challenging we have faced and in 2020 our services were overwhelmed by people that are struggling and seeking support.’
As a healthcare recruitment agency, dedicated to connecting and supporting our Healthcare Professionals with the NHS and other UK Healthcare Organisations, we too, are so aware of how difficult the last two years have been for those working in healthcare.
Recognising Stress Symptoms
Stress can manifest in very different ways, mentally (difficulty concentrating, feeling overwhelmed, forgetfulness) and physically (headaches, muscle tension, chest pains), that may be contributing to the way you feel. Take a look on the NHS website, which has a guide to symptoms. They also have a mood self-assessment that can help you better understand how you’ve been feeling recently.
Support for Stress
The good news is, there is plenty of support, from both the NHS and organisations such as The Stress Management Society. As a Healthcare Professional you will already be more aware than most that, going to a Doctor to seek advice, support and help for stress is, thankfully, very much encouraged.
It is also important to say that, feeling stressed is very normal. We live in a very fast-paced world, and juggling work, family commitments and dealing with day to day living can be testing for even the calmest person! But, if you find stress is overtaking your ability to cope and/or is affecting your sleep, it may be a good idea to look into some ways to manage your stress. To help along the way, we’ve put together a few tips that could be just what you need. But, please remember to reach out to a fellow Healthcare Professional if you need to, or visit your own GP if you need a bit more support.
What we eat and how much we move can really contribute to how we can deal with stress. Eating healthily and ensuring you get the vitamins and nutrients you need, alongside making time for exercise will boost your mood and when you feel more positive, you can cope with stress better. It is important though, to start slowly as sometimes, too much change can lead to even more stress and giving up on healthy lifestyle changes. Apply small changes at first for stress awareness; start taking the stairs instead of a lift at work, go for a walk at lunchtime, have a bottle of water with you at all times and make sure you take regular sips, chart and stick to, having your 5 a day of fruit and veg. Even these small changes can make such a difference!
If you are lying awake at night, tossing and turning due to stress, it is a good idea to adopt a night time ritual to help relax leading up to bedtime. Staying hydrated throughout the day is one of the first things you can do as lack of hydration can cause a lot of discomfort, such as leg cramps and dry mouth, which can keep really disrupt your sleep. Eating light and avoiding caffeine after 6-7pm alongside a bath with soothing, sleep inducing oils such a lavender can also help. Make sure your bedroom is place for sleep too; avoid having a TV in there, use soft, low lighting as you prepare for bed, comfortable bedding and good pillows.
Watch your tech
Are you feeling overloaded by emails, messages and social media? If your inbox is full, it may be time for a purge; unsubscribe to emails you don’t need and empty your inbox. Social media can contribute to stress too, leaving people with feelings of missing out or comparing their own lifestyle to others. Putting a limit on how much you use social media can be very helpful for stress awareness, and you can use that time for more self-care or getting out and seeing people face to face rather than via messages.
As a Healthcare Professional, we understand how important it is to stay focused at work, but, if for any reason you find yourself feeling stressed, it is really important to seek help. As an organisation, the NHS is aware of how crucial it is to support their Healthcare Professionals – and they invest a lot of time and energy into putting support in place. Their 2020 NHS annual survey results revealed that 44% of staff suffered from work-related stress, up from 40% in 2019. Considering the additional stress that the Covid-19 pandemic put Healthcare Professionals under, this is not surprising, and they have taken extra steps to help.
The NHS Employers Organisation took action with their We Are the NHS: People Plan for 2020/2021 (PDF) that focuses on:
‘Looking after our people to ensure people are safe and healthy at work, prioritising the wellbeing of NHS staff to deliver safe and high-quality patient care.’
Take a look at the plan for further advice and help on what you can do, and where you can go for help and also, their website, which has a myriad of useful information.
We hope our blog on dealing with stress has given you some helpful advice and don’t forget, at ID Medical we’re on hand to listen as well as provide a range of opportunities, with hours and shifts to help you maintain a healthy work/life balance and deal with stress.
We appreciate your work is not always easy, and we recognise, and empathise, with the stresses and strains this can have on your wellbeing. In recognition of the amazing work you do, we’ve created a dedicated and confidential Wellbeing Hotline for our Healthcare Professionals.
You can call us 24/7 on 01908 087777 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice, support or if you would simply like to talk to someone. We’re here to help in any way we can.
If you enjoyed this wellness blog, you may also like: Tips for Dealing with NHS Night-Shift Working