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Reinventing support for mental health in the workplace: Stress Awareness Day and Movember

Delta Capita want to do everything we can to sustain employee success. This includes supporting and creating awareness around stress and mental health issues. In November, these issues are hig


Delta Capita want to do everything we can to sustain employee success. This includes supporting and creating awareness around stress and mental health issues.

In November, these issues are highlighted by Movember, which aims to make a difference on mental health and suicide prevention; and Stress Awareness Day/Week.

What is stress?

We all feel stress at certain times and moderate amounts of it are usually good for us. But sometimes, it can be overwhelming too.

We know what it feels like when our bodies and minds react to high levels of emotional and mental pressure, which is the definition of stress. Our bodies release cortisol - the primary stress hormone - and adrenaline. These enable you to withstand pressure and threats through the so-called fight or flight response. Typically, these hormones return to normal levels when the pressure or threat has passed.

Small amounts of stress can motivate and encourage you to fully engage and complete tasks. But too much can negatively affect your mood, body and or relationships.

In the UK, millions of individuals experience such negative stress reactions. Health and Safety Executive data shows workplace stress, anxiety and depression have been rising since 2015. This increase has been particularly steep since the start of the Covid pandemic.

Causes of stress

Many factors cause stress. It could be one event in your life or a series of smaller events. You may feel under lots of pressure; face big changes in your life; be worried about something; or be going through some uncertainty.

Or you may feel a lack of control over a situation; have responsibilities you find overwhelming; or not have enough work, activities or change in your life.

Signs and symptoms of stress

The signs and symptoms of stress can be categorised into three main groups: physical, mental and behavioural. But stress affects us in different ways, so not everyone will experience the same signs and symptoms.

Physical signs and symptoms include shortness of breath, dry mouth, feeling tired or dizzy, muscle tension, pain, and sweating. Mental indications include feeling irritable, not concentrating, making mistakes, feeling low, racing thoughts, or imagining the worst. Behavioural signs include eating more or less, avoiding others, biting your nails, sleep problems, crying, or rushing tasks.

Ways to cope with stress

Self-care is about using various methods to lower your stress levels and symptoms. Each person will use different methods depending on what works for them. Here are some self-care methods to try.

If you don’t know what is causing your stress, a diary could help you distinguish what triggers your high stress levels. Recognising your triggers will give you more control over your stress levels.

There are places where you can seek practical advice to help reduce your stress and cope with the symptoms. Practical advice can resolve issues with housing, debt and money, for example. Professional advice from a counsellor or therapist can help you deal with more serious or longer-term stress-related problems.

You can also often reduce stress levels simply by telling someone how you feel and off-loading your worries.

Planning your time can make you less stressed by giving you more sense of control. For example, you could write a list that includes tasks you need to complete by when. Then prioritise your tasks and goals and create steps towards them, so they feel more manageable.

Lifestyle changes can help you reduce stress. These include limiting caffeine intake, which can make you feel calmer and help you sleep better. Exercise - such as running, cycling, team sports and going to the gym - can relieve stress too. Also sleep is essential, as lack of sleep can increase stress and reduce performance.

NHS support

If stress is affecting your daily life or causing distress, call NHS 111 or talk to your local GP. Therapy through the improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) service is also available for self-referral without seeing your GP.

You can seek NHS support; find an IAPT service (England only); read NHS advice about stress; and read this NHS self-help guide.

Support from Delta Capita

At Delta Capita, we prioritise mental and physical health through initiatives such as Mental Health Awareness sessions, ‘Time to Talk’ discussions, and mindfulness meditation sessions. We support all employees during times of stress – whether the causes are from their personal or professional life. We also share wellbeing tips via our ‘Live Well, Work Well’ newsletter.

Delta Capita also have mental health champions; mental health first aiders; a wellness committee; and an employee assistance programme. Our employee health insurance includes enhanced mental health cover.

Our Wellness Week 2022 included:

  • HIIT (high-intensity interval training) training
  • a global financial wellbeing session
  • ‘Strong body, strong mind’ training
  • a Vinyasa flow yoga session
  • tools for self-coaching
  • a mental health champions Time to Talk session.

Are you looking for a new workplace that values employee wellbeing and diversity? Check out our latest vacancies. Also find out how Delta Capita are reinventing the workplace through employee-centric projects at our Reinventing Hub.