Stress Awareness: Three top tips

Wright Hassall LLP and Virgin Money

Future Faces’ (FF) theme this month is Stress Awareness: a topic close to home for many, including myself, writes Freya Dearman…

Stress does not discriminate. Often, there is a misconception (especially amongst employers) that younger people are generally free from stress.

Younger professionals can be perceived to have more freedom from responsibilities outside of the workplace i.e. less likely to have responsibilities for dependants (although this is an over-generalisation and is not always the case), leading employers to often assume that they have capacity for higher workloads, and the time to attend work-related events outside of normal working hours. 

Essentially, stress is sometimes considered to be something that you deal with later on in life. However, there are many stressors that younger people face which are often overlooked (although I appreciate these are not confined to younger people).

For me, trying to make the right career moves and setting boundaries to ensure I can sustain my mental well-being long-term, whilst striving towards qualification part-time and balancing the day-to-day demands in and between, can be extremely stressful and at times, overwhelming. 

Ignoring that younger people can face intense periods of stress is both detrimental to the employer and employee and does not serve anyone’s interests.

Whilst prevention is always the best solution, sometimes these perceptions hold younger professionals back and so awareness, and action when chronic stress takes hold, becomes key. 

I caught up with my fellow FF peer, Amy Jacklin, following a recent FF Stress Awareness event and here are three top tips she has on how to maintain Stress Awareness:

  • “The first piece of advice is to spend time to think: what is your driver? What motivates you and where does your stress come from? It is so important to get to know yourself.


  • The second suggestion is to go through your average day and every task that you do, categorising them into tasks that nourish you (bring you energy) or deplete you (tire you out and drain your battery). For example, clearing your inbox might be a nourishing task, making you feel calm knowing it's done. Depleting could be something like starting workat 9am feeling overwhelmed, and unsure of where to pick up. This task will give you a good overview of how much your current lifestyle exacerbates stress or empowers you.


  • The final tip is, even when you feel like you’re up against it, make time to schedule in more things that nourish you. If you have been avoiding time with friends to work, maybe look to rekindle those relationships. Your productivity will increase for it too. Things that could also nourish you could be time in nature, time with loved ones, meditation, yoga, sport or activities like running and swimming. These all boost your energy levels and make you so much more resilient to activities that may deplete you.


Amy goes on to say the following: “Once you have this list, the next step is to (yes, you've guessed it!) tackle the depletions. Where possible, use time management techniques like the four D's; Do, Defer, Delegate and Delete. When feeling stressed, a solution could be to look at the timescales of the tasks. Prioritise and defer tasks if they are not urgent, but important. Delegate if the task is urgent, but not important. If the task is not urgent and not important, then look to delete it.

If you have decided the task at hand is urgent and important, a great way to tackle the tasks that feel like they deplete you is to take the time to reframe them.

If you start work on a Monday morning, feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to prioritise your workload, set yourself a ‘to do’ list on a Friday evening, and include the purpose or what you have to gain from it.

A way to do this could be to appreciate how you are lucky to be in a workplace where you have so much autonomy, or that you are doing very well in that you get to enjoy the learning process through a safe workplace environment.

A quote we want to leave you with is “let your attitude shape your day; don’t let your day shape your attitude”.

Pictured: Amy Jacklin (left) and Freya Dearman (right)