National Stress Awareness Day

When I’m stressed I….

Last month, we looked at some Savvy Stories when considering how we work towards bringing about positive mental health.  Stress can affect mental health; and mental health can affect stress.  And so today, on National Stress Awareness Day, we’ve asked the Savvy team to once again share their stress-busting techniques and stories.  Nothing is as powerful, and pushes awareness more that stress affects every single one of us, than a shared experience to encourage additional support to your colleagues.

Interestingly, there is no medical definition for stress and so it is an abstract term that is hard to pinpoint from both a cause and an effect perspective. The majority of companies will have stress policies in place; work towards spreading workload fairly and in a lot of instances, have people who can often spot triggers in others; but with it rarely being 100% attributed to work and rather intangible, it’s sometimes difficult for employers to know how to tackle and prevent.

I know from my own experiences we often attribute stress to the last thing that you felt stressed about and this is often work; but really, in a lot of instances it’s a cumulative response to lots of things. 

At Savvy, we try to encourage openness; have informal dialogues with our employees; and promote inclusivity and trust.  We appreciate it’s very rarely one leading reason; and as above, it’s much more likely to be an accumulation of lots of factors; coupled with your own proclivity to develop your emotional resilience. 

It’s often situational (things you can/can’t control) and responsive (how you react to it).

Pressuring Outside Influences

So, a sensible starting point could be looking at what you can control externally.  What can you let go of?  What can you change?  What can you simply accept you cannot change?  A psychologist once told me (very wisely) you need to decide if it’s something you can live with for the rest of your life and try to make your peace with; or is it something you can and are willing to walk away from or simply not do it anymore?  

Sage words for when you are trying to rationalise with yourself; but often easier said than done.   We often think it would be earth-shatteringly bad to let go of something; or actually unthinkable/impossible – but is it actually, and how you do you determine between the two?

I love a list.  So (as my colleague Taj said in my last blog), I write things down (handwritten only; the digital pen seems insufficient somehow) and work through what I can either ask for help on; get done quickly or simply give up on (like 6am runs).  Somehow seeing it in black and white takes it out of my brain and into a place where I can literally draw a line under it if needs be.

Emotional Resilience

This is how you understand yourself and how you can develop and safeguard yourself from feeling overly stressed.  Strategies for developing your own roll-with-punches will vary – we’re all so very different! 

To help us understand our own emotional resiliences, the lovely people Mind have created cards which simply state When I’m stressed I…. so that we can acknowledge; share and support each other in how we manage stress.

Some laugh in the face of adversity; some have a very specific ritual to help bring about a sense calm; and as stress has physical reactions too; some have some active solutions.

Our Savvy Stories

Thank you to Mind for creating such a powerful topic and here are some of our Savvy stress-busting stories to share with you and the world.

The insight into this is as fascinating as it is practical and a sign of basic human fellowship.  We hope you enjoy it.