National Stress Awareness Day… just the start…

Whilst here at grays we research, design programmes, practice and write (seeĀ on wellbeing and resilience, even we were caught out last week.

Did you know that November 2nd is the UK ‘National Stress Awareness Day’…..and apparently it has been on our ‘raising awareness’ calenders for nearly 20 years? If  you are surprised by this news then please take heart, I have been working in the stress management field for twenty or so years and I only recently heard of this one.

Knowing of such events, and having a reminder on your calender, is one way for individuals to get involved with activities that may help with the impact caused by life events such as bereavement, divorce, money or relationship problems.

While we may touch base on life’s challenges in our work at grays, we see the the ‘National Stress Awareness’ day primarily as an opportunity for organisations/employers to develop their culture of wellbeing. Many employers may use the event to celebrate organisational achievements, such as low absenteesim/presenteeism, fewer workplace accidents, fewer workplace errors, and fewer recruitment and retention problems. Overall the celebratory picture can depict as one of individual and organisational resilience, a one day event however should only be part of a larger organisational development wellbeing plan.

The emergence of workplace health as a key factor in organisational resilience, is one that has been taken very seriously by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and the HSE has been working with member organisations to produce health managment standards and methods of accessing local intelligence (see Employers and ‘influencing organisations’ have also been proactive in providing opportunities for employees to understand the signs and symptoms of stress, and to bring emerging technologies into the workplace arena.

We have been fortunate to work with proactive employers such as Betsi Cadwallader University Health Board,  and ‘influencing organisation’ the Royal College of Physicians, both of which take employee resilience and wellbeing seriously, and we look forward to working with ‘influencing organisation’, the Chemical Industry Association (CIA) in November. The CIA have realised through their Health Leadership agenda, that sustainable health promotion activities are better achieved with employees rather than provided for employees, and a core component of our resilience programme is all about employees constructing and contributing to their own and their team wellbeing. Our approach acknowledges that while workplaces are often highly stressful environments, the solutions to dealing with this are the responsibility of all employees, and not just those with designated ‘health or wellbeing’ roles.

As our understanding of human resilience and workplace stress increases, perhaps we will see the steps taken to raise awareness through calander ‘events’, as being part of our own developing sense of coherence, and thank those who have been working alongside us.  Whatever you or your organisation is doing on ‘National Stress Awareness’ day we hope your find some innovative solutions to workplace stress, and remember it is up to you to make stress management something that happens more than once a year.