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Stress Awareness Day – 3rd November 2021

3 November 2021

“I need somebody – HELP”

There are times in everyone’s life when we feel under pressure. But almost everyone I talk to now seems to be overwhelmed with work, struggling for staff, or worried about their lack of customers. Whatever the reason whether it be home, or work-related many of us are feeling stressed.

Feeling stressed is the normal human reaction when the demands placed upon us are greater than our ability to cope.

The right amount of stress can motivate us, cause excitement, get the job done, and make us feel alive. But the problem occurs when the stress becomes chronic. Our bodies react to emotional or mental pressure by releasing stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline.

Mia Belle Frothingham explains that in the past we knew this reaction as a ‘fight or flight response’, but in recent years psychologists have highlighted additional stress responses known as ‘freeze or fawn’.

  • Fight: We recognise danger and prepare ourselves to fight off that danger
  • Flight: This response is where our bodies prepare to avoid the danger by running away
  • Freeze: This option is chosen when a person doesn’t feel that fight or flight is the right option and may include elements such as: going pale and experiencing a sense of dread
  • Fawn: People who choose this reaction have often experienced challenging events and do not want to adopt the ‘flight, fight or freeze’ responses

(Frothingham, 2021)

Work-related stress

Across the UK, and in a wide variety of workplaces, stress is playing havoc with the health and performance of our teams. The Health and Safety Executive’s latest figures show that stress-related health conditions result in approximately 11 million working days lost each year (HSE, 2021). The Mental Foundation explains that we should all try and strike the right work-life balance as this is crucial to maintaining our mental health. (Mental Health Foundation, 2021).

In the UK the HSE provides guidance to employers on both the signs and how to manage work-related stress.

What are the signs of work-related stress?

In teams

  • Arguments
  • Higher staff turnover
  • More reports of stress
  • More sickness absence
  • Decreased performance
  • Increased complaints and grievances

Signs of stress in an employee

A change in the way someone acts can be a sign of stress, for example, they may:

  • Take more time off
  • Arrive for work later
  • Be more twitchy or nervous

A change in the way someone thinks or feels can also be a sign of stress, for example:

  • Mood swings
  • Being withdrawn
  • Loss of motivation, commitment, and confidence
  • Increased emotional reactions – being more tearful, sensitive, or aggressive

(HSE 2021)

Stress awareness day 3 November 2021

On this day, we can all raise awareness, in our personal lives and with our colleagues at work. Start the conversation about stress and mental health. Play our Ouch stress bucket video here and talk about the activities that help you to reduce the stress that has built up in your bucket.

So, what can we do at work to help support our teams?

The HSE stress management standards are an excellent way for employers to begin making a real difference to work-related stress in their teams. Ouch has recently developed a training course for managing stress in the workplace and has really enjoyed working with local companies including Dorset Wildlife Trust, ECO Sustainable Solutions, and Reid Steel to help them implement the standards in their workplaces.

After attending our training course Brian from DWT said “Excellent level of content. Great incites, also usable tools and techniques backed up by sound philosophy.

If you would like to speak to one of the Ouch team and see how we can help you manage work-related stress, employee wellbeing, and mental health, contact us on 01202 880999 or email office@ouchtt.co.uk.


Frothingham, M.B. (2021) ‘Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Fawn: What This Response Means’. Simply Psychology. Available online; https://www.simplypsychology.org/fight-flight-freeze-fawn.htm Accessed, November 01 2021.

Health and Safety Executive. (2021) ‘Work-related stress’ Available online; https://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/index.htm Accessed, November 01 2021.

Mental Health Foundation. (2021) ‘Work-life balance’ Available online: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/w/work-life-balance Accessed November 01 2021.