Don’t suffer alone this Stress Awareness Month

April marks the start of Stress Awareness Month – an annual campaign to increase public awareness of the causes of stress and how to tackle it. Stress can severely impact both our physical and mental health and despite the annual campaign running for almost 30 years, it feels more relevant than ever.

Healthcare professionals face enormous pressures in their work lives, and, as a result, many struggle with high levels of stress and burnout.

In our recent Workforce Wellbeing Survey hosted jointly with the RPS, almost nine in ten pharmacists working in Great Britain told us that they’re at high risk of burnout. This is an incredibly high and concerning figure. What’s more, nearly half of the respondents reported that their mental health was either not good or poor, and almost all of the respondents reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had also impacted their mental health and wellbeing.

Living in a constant state of stress can take an enormous toll on your emotional and physical wellbeing.

To tackle stress, the first step is to recognise the warning signs and identify what might be causing it. You can then take steps to reduce stress and improve your wellbeing. Our Wardley Wellbeing Hub has many practical resources dedicated to helping you through times of stress. These include self-learning modules, fact sheets to identify causes and cures for stress, printable material to use alone and with your pharmacy team, and real stories from pharmacists.

Talking about your concerns and pressures with someone you trust is also another way to reduce stress. The charity provides a confidential listening service, Listening Friends, which provides a safe space to talk through your worries. Fundamentally it is important to build in time to prioritise your wellbeing, this can be done by taking simple steps such as regularly physical activity, eating well and getting enough sleep.

Last year, we established a new five-year strategy and refreshed our vision and mission.

The charity now has a clear focus on championing the wellbeing of our pharmacy family and we’re in the process of developing our wellbeing services even further so we can assist those who are facing challenging times. Following on from the success of last year’s ACTNow wellbeing campaign, we’ve committed to running the campaign again. Whereas last year we focused our efforts over 15 weeks for everyone across our pharmacy family, this year we are running three different targeted campaigns; one for students, one for trainees and one for pharmacists.

However you engage with ACTNow and Stress Awareness Month, make sure you take some time for yourself to refresh your wellbeing knowledge. Check out the resources on our site, talk with colleagues, friends, family or reach out to us for support. Don’t suffer alone.  

This article first appeared in Natural Pharmacy Business Magazine’s April/May 2021 Publication.