April marks Stress Awareness Month, an occasion aimed at boosting awareness about the causes and cures of stress, educating people about the subject and encouraging people to adopt healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stressful situations.

This year’s theme is #LittleByLittle, and aims to highlight the impact that taking small positive actions can have on our overall wellbeing. Accordingly, we want to help #TeamGateshead colleagues understand how even the smallest steps taken towards self-care and stress reduction can boost our mental health. Below, we share a number of ‘little steps’ that might be able to help you do this.

Building Resilience:

As a term, resilience can be divisive. At its core, resilience is ultimately about having the capacity to withstand difficulties or recover quickly from them. However, in the context of the work we do at Gateshead in particular, this is often easier said than done – and we understand the significance of the role that we as an organisation play in your ability to be resilient.

Over on our new resilience webpage, we explain more around our thoughts on and approach to resilience here at Gateshead – while also signposting to a range of useful free tools, workshops, training courses and more – all designed to help you build skills, confidence and ultimately resilience.

Getting active:

One focus area of the Occupational Health and Wellbeing Team at the moment is helping colleagues to stay well physically. But as well as a highly-rated physiotherapy service that is there to help any colleagues suffering from musculoskeletal issues, aches and pains, we’re also looking at helping get people active. #

On-site pilates continue to be popular with attendees and waiting lists are at a low – meaning your chance of bagging a spot soon are high. Our new Gateshead Health Netball Team isn’t far from getting their first season up and running, while there are also plenty of opportunities for colleagues to try Tag Rugby free of charge this month. If you fancy a kick-about, you can also register your interest in joining a weekly five-a-side by emailing our health & wellbeing ambassador, Sonny. And if group activity isn’t for you – discounted gym memberships or free online digital fitness platforms might be!

Get a grip on your finances:

For many of us, financial wellbeing can be a particular concern. At Gateshead Health, we’re fortunate to have a partnership with Citizens Advice Gateshead, providing all staff with access to an advisor within one working day. Advisors can help with issues ranging from debt to utilities, accommodation to benefits, legal advice to illness and much more. To access the service, just leave a voicemail on our dedicated phoneline, 0191 490 4231, or email [email protected].

Of course, our financial wellbeing guide is also available to #TeamGateshead staff, and brings together all of the freebies, savings, support, opportunities and much more that you can benefit from as a result of being a Gateshead Health colleague. Designed to provide something for everyone, the guide should have something of use in there for you and can be downloaded here.

How we’ll improve in the future:

As noted, physical wellbeing is a big focus area for us at the moment and as well as new netball team, we’re also looking at the potential of launching a weight loss or wellness group, focused on helping provide colleagues looking to improve their physical health with a community of support, accessible in the workplace.

Elsewhere, stress itself is also high on our agenda. Currently, work is ongoing to draft and launch a new stress at work policy, which at its core will help outline how more proactive use of stress risk assessments for individuals and the stress indicator tool within teams can help to prompt adjustments and improvements that reduce stress in the workplace.

Further support:

Of course, our website is home to a wealth of support across various topics. Whether you are seeking more practical support such as counselling; are seeking a community to share and discuss your experiences with such as Schwartz Rounds or are looking for more targeted self-care support, our aim is to provide something for you. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please do drop us a line on [email protected] – we’ll do our best to see what we can find for you!