National Stress Awareness Day 2021

National Stress Awareness Day takes place on every first Wednesday in November, so this year it’s November 3rd. It’s a chance to focus on the impact of stress, the damage it can do and how to avoid it becoming overwhelming or unmanageable in your personal and professional life. At Wave, we value our staff’s mental health and wellbeing, and this is why we believe it’s so important to have the right culture in the organisation that encourages our people to talk about any issues they have rather than allowing pressure to build up.

The history of National Stress Day

National Stress Day is an event organised by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA). It exists to help people recognise, manage, and reduce stress in their personal and professional lives. ISMA provide guides and support to help organisations and individuals better understand stress and how to effectively manage it.


National Stress Awareness Day is an important awareness event because:

  1. Life is precious – spending your life stressed and worried is a waste
  2. Stress damages your health – both mentally and physically, if you’re always worried and stressed, it will take its impact on your body
  3. You need to differentiate between types of stress – some stress will help motivate you and push you forward, other types can be damaging to your health and personal life, so it’s important to understand the differences

Helpful tips for dealing with stress

Learning how to manage stress is a life skill all of us need to practice. Stress has no medical definition, but it can impact your ability to do day to day tasks or even your job effectively. Learning how to manage stress is important and is one of the focuses of this awareness event. Keep these handy stress management tips in mind:

  • Talk to someone: this could be a friend, family member, colleague or even a professional counsellor. Whoever you need to help you manage overwhelming feelings
  • Break tasks down: if a task or activity seems overwhelming then break it into manageable chunks. Make lists and give yourself the recognition you deserve as you finish each small task
  • Consider exercise: being active can help burn off nervous energy as it helps to release of chemicals called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body
  • Plan ahead: taking time to plan removes the stress of last-minute organisation. This is added pressure that no one needs!
  • Embrace positivity: not everyone has a natural positive approach to life but taking a more positive outlook really can help. Train yourself to see things more brightly, think about the good things in your life and what you have to be grateful for

What we do at Wave to support our staff

At Wave we recognise the importance of supporting our staff’s mental health needs. Our employees need to feel their best, to be able to work at their best, and a stressful, pressured working environment is no fun for anybody. During the pandemic, we have worked hard to ensure our people felt connected, supported, and valued. Our Director of HR, Jane Austin, explains, “Among other things, we worked with a psychologist specialising in burnout and trauma to roll out a session across the organisation to help recognise the signs and prevent major mental health crashes. It was initiatives and support like this which helped us win the Gold Award at the 2021 UK Business Awards for our response to the pandemic”.

Even before COVID-19 hit, Wave were committed to wellbeing objectives. These included creating a culture where employees felt they could discuss any physical or mental health issues openly, where they felt supported by Wave and where they had access to a range of interventions. These included our free early intervention health scheme which gave our people access to a specialist psychiatric nurse within 48 hours of them letting us know they were struggling, as well as a counselling service and access to other bespoke treatments depending on the case.

We also recognise how important work-life balance is for minimising stress. Our people have been able to work from home since March 2020, and in July 2021 we re-opened our offices for individuals and teams who wish to spend time back in the workplace. We haven’t adopted a one size fits all approach, but we’ve allowed our teams to find a balance between their individual preferences and business needs. For some teams, this means working predominantly from home, whereas for others it means choosing to come into the office one week out of four, and in some cases one or two days every week.

Other key elements of our wellbeing approach include the provision of ‘audience with’ sessions where we’ve welcomed speakers on a range of topics requested by employees. These have included living with Asperger’s, personal safety, how to leave your pet post-lockdown, and we have more sessions planned on dementia, as well as a video from two employees sharing their experiences of surviving breast cancer. There is no one answer to minimising stress in an organisation, but Wave listens to the ideas of its employees and tries to offer an all-round wellbeing provision.