COPING WITH STRESS IN HEALTH & SOCIAL CARE

Two people talking about stress

This month we’re talking about stress – which is coincidentally a great way to start coping it.

 

There is no medical definition of stress, and health care professionals often disagree over whether stress is the cause of problems or the result of them.

 

The Health & Safety Executive defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’.

 

Whatever your personal definition of stress is, there are ways to identify and manage it – both in yourself and in those around you:

 

  • By managing external pressures, so stressful situations don’t happen so often, and 
  • By developing emotional resilience, to better cope with challenging situations when they do happen

 

 

Stress in Health & Social Care

 

Caring for others is rewarding but can be a cause of stress. What do you do when you feel the impact of the pressures of your role? How can you help tackle these for yourself and your co-workers?

 

Talking is always a good place to start. The old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is often true, with the burden of a challenging situation or decision relieved by discussing it with co-workers, friends and family.

 

and the perfect opportunity to talk freely about it and to share coping mechanisms.

 

 

How do you cope with Stress?

 

Here at CQM Learning we regularly take our office dog to visit staff and residents at a local service. Studies show that playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of oxytocin (a stress-reducing hormone) and decrease production of cortisol (a stress hormone).

 

Could you include animal therapy sessions into your day? You could ask friends and family of people who use your service to take pets to visit service users or get in touch with a service like .

 

 

Some other ways to tackle stress:

 

You could:

 

 

Other things that may help:

 

  • share your problems with family or friends
  • make more time for your interests and hobbies
  • take a break or holiday
  • take some regular exercise and make sure you are eating healthily

 

Learn mindfulness, breathing and deep muscle relaxation techniques to reduce stress in our Stress Awareness distance learning course.

 

 

Stress busting strategies

 

The keys to good stress management are building emotional strength, being in control of your situation, having a good social network and adopting a positive outlook. 

 

  • Be active
  • Take control
  • Connect with people
  • Have some 'me time'
  • Challenge yourself
  • Avoid unhealthy habits
  • Help other people
  • Try to be positive
  • Give yourself a break

 

Read about these strategies in details and learn specific ways to reduce stress in the workplace in our Stress Awareness course.

 

Is stress affecting the people around you?

 

Remember to look out for those around you. Are any of your co-workers, people who use your service, friends or family displaying these changes:

 

  • Extroverts becoming withdrawn
  • Becoming more accident prone
  • Becoming short-tempered
  • A dramatic change in weight

 

Everyone has ‘bad’ days but if you notice the changes above for five or more days, they could be experiencing stress. What would you do if you identified stress in someone else? Does your workplace have policies in place? Are you comfortable with talking to people about it?  

 

If you want to learn more about stress and other mental health problems such as depression, eating disorders and PTSD, apply for the Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Mental Health Problems. This distance learning course takes around 10 weeks to complete, resulting in a nationally recognised qualification. It is fully funded for eligible learners - download the Mental Health Problems training application form here.