I have always been someone who can be emotionally triggered quite easily. I am well known (and mocked) for crying at movies, TV shows and songs. There was once a period where I couldn't watch a Nikon advert without having a little cry (my flatmate at the time still won’t let me forget about this).
Over the last 6 and a half years that I've been working in the charity sector I have seen many friends and colleagues battle with stress/anxiety and had many struggles myself. I know this is not unique to the charity sector. However, I think there is a tendency for many of us who work in charities to put an additional pressure on ourselves as our own values become increasingly entwined with those of the organisation we work for. The more you care about your cause the more challenging it can become to switch off or let things go.
We also live in a world where we are constantly exposed to news. When tragedy strikes it is hard to take a break from the harrowing images and stories that follow. This has felt particularly true over the last few months. No matter how much I might try to channel Chumbawamba, it is definitely getting harder to get back up again after each round of bad news.
One of the best bits of advice I read following one of the recent terror attacks was to look for the helpers. Sure enough, you will always find them.
You have the incredible police and firefighters putting themselves on the line and the NHS staff working tirelessly, all focussed on saving lives. However, I’ve been most inspired and comforted by the members of the public who have come together in big and small acts of kindness and sometimes bravery. However awful the news can seem it’s important to remember the huge numbers of people doing humanity proud.
Given all this, I wanted to try and start a positive conversation about the different coping mechanisms people use to help themselves and others through tough times.
What are the strategies you employ to help yourself through a tough time at work or in life?
What does your organisation do to support staff?
What could the sector do better to help in these situations?
What is the best advice you have had?
I think the more we talk about these things the better equipped we all become at helping ourselves and others, both in our jobs and in our lives. I look forward to reading your thoughts.