Support the mental and physical wellbeing of young people and their families in Gloucestershire
Understanding Stress and Embracing Self-awareness

Stress Awareness Month

Senior Manager for Therapeutic Services and Counsellor, Clare Farman discusses different types of stress, how it can effect us and what we can do to manage our stress.

“Stress is a natural part of being human – it’s something we all experience. But not all stress is created equal. Let’s explore it further.

“Consider this: you’re gearing up for an exam or planning the big day of your dreams. That flutter of nerves you feel? That’s healthy stress. It’s like your body’s way of saying, “Hey, let’s get ready to tackle this!” It can actually motivate us to study harder, get organised, and shine when the big moment arrives.

“On the other hand, there’s the less enjoyable stress. Think of those days when work feels like a never-ending mountain of tasks, or when money worries keep you up at night. That’s the kind of stress that can weigh us down and leave us feeling drained.

“It’s important to recognise the difference because healthy stress can give us a boost, while too much of the other stuff can really take a toll on our well-being. If we let stress run wild for too long, it can lead to burnout, anxiety, or even depression. So, knowing when to draw the line between healthy and unhealthy stress is key.

“Young people have got their own set of stressors, from the pressures of school and friendships to navigating family dynamics and social media. It’s a lot to juggle, especially with all those major life milestones popping up left and right – changing schools, getting a driver’s licence, figuring out their next steps in life. The list goes on.

“Recognising these stressors and finding ways to cope is super important. Whether it’s reaching out for support or finding healthy ways to unwind, helping young people navigate stress is essential for their well-being and this is something our Mental Health Youth Workers are regularly helping young people with here at YG.

“But guess what? Stress doesn’t clock out when we punch in at work. Nope, it can follow us into the workplace, too. From tight deadlines to office politics, there’s plenty that can leave us feeling frazzled. But fear not! By fostering open communication, setting realistic expectations, and making sure everyone has the support they need, we can create a work environment that’s more chill and less chaotic. Here at YG we have a number of processes to support our staff to maintain a positive work/life balance including; regular one-to-ones, well-being plans, a framework of working hours, ensuring phones and emails are not responded to outside working hours, and ensuring regular annual leave is being taken. By recognising and addressing workplace stress as a shared responsibility between organisations and employees, both parties can work together to create a healthier, more supportive work environment that promotes employee well-being and productivity.

“The first steps towards managing stress is to be able to recognise the signs of stress and to be able to spot when stress is becoming difficult to manage. Signs may include feeling constantly overwhelmed, having trouble sleeping, experiencing physical symptoms like headaches or stomach-aches, or noticing changes in mood, tolerance or behaviour. It is not always easy to notice the subtle physical signs of stress, so it is important to ensure we have the time to assess ourselves. Self-reflection is a valuable tool for understanding our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, particularly in the context of managing stress. Self-reflection enables a person to understand the underlying issues that may be contributing to the stress. Time to reflect is vital in a world that is full of distractions, but how can you create time for yourself?

“It’s crucial to carve out moments for self-care and self-reflection amidst life’s hustle and bustle. Here are some top tips to help you make time for yourself:
• Set boundaries: Establish designated time for self-care and reflection. Identify distractions and actively minimise their impact.
• Limit social media time and/or technology: Take breaks from screens to recharge and focus on present moments.
• Journaling: Capture your thoughts and reflections in a journal. It’s a powerful tool for self-discovery and processing emotions.
• Create a ritual: Establish a routine that includes time for self-reflection. It can be as simple as lighting a candle for five minutes a day or taking a daily walk.
• Prioritise self-care: Recognise the value of taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Make time for activities that nourish your soul and recharge your batteries.

“In the end, being aware of our stress levels and knowing how to handle them is key to living our best lives – both personally and professionally. So let’s cut ourselves some slack, take a deep breath, and tackle stress head-on, one manageable step at a time.”

If you are a young person struggling with stress then click the link to Access Services. Or perhaps you are a local business and would like to find out how we can help you and your staff manage stress in the work environment, get in touch.

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