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Staff Counselling Centre

 

There is no doubt that many of us are feeling a growing concern about the rapid increase in the cost of living, and the impact this will have on ourselves and the people we care for. The purpose of this leaflet is to highlight the ways in which we can all look after our MENTAL HEALTH through this time. To highlight the support made available by the University at our Centre, and to signpost to other organisations that provide specialist support and advice.

TALK 

You can feel immediate benefit from TALKING to someone you trust about your situation and concerns. This might be a friend or family member or a trusted colleague. Sometimes it can feel too difficult to talk to people we know well, because we want to protect them, or not disappoint them. More often than not, opening up about our own worries allows others to share in theirs too. If talking to someone you know is not possible, find a way to talk to a professional or with people in a similar position via an online network (see info below).  

ACCEPT

Given that there are elements of this current situation that are out of our control it is key to move towards ACCEPTING that you may need to make some changes in your life. Reassure yourself that any changes you are considering are about managing as best you can for now, but that they may be temporary measures. It also helps to remind ourselves of other times in our lives when we have been required to alter our behaviours or activities. It is easier take on any challenge if we lean into past experience, then we can feel we are on familiar territory. 

SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE

You may have particular concerns about managing payments or debts and it is really important to access professional support for this. By TAKING ADVICE from a professional or a specialist you will be giving yourself the best chance to effectively manage the difficulties you face. Remind yourself that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a responsible and positive action. You can find links below for such organisations.

MAKE A PLAN

Often when stressed, MAKING A PLAN does not feel easy - indeed nothing feels easy when we are in a highly anxious state. But evidence suggests that by making plans we reduce anxiety, and by carrying them out we relieve mental distress. Your plan may involve getting others in your household on board, sharing responsibility and working out in a stepped way what might be helpful to address, change or activate. It may be about giving something up to reduce outgoings or postponing an activity or plan temporarily. Set reasonable and achievable targets with short-term goals so that you can appreciate the results.

MOVEMENT AND EXERCISE

You may read this and think ‘how could EXERCISE possibly help with stress induced by pressure from rising costs?’ The value of introducing or keeping up exercise and movement is based on the fact that improving our fitness helps us feel in control, it is great for processing frustration, and the chemical exchange that takes place when we raise our heart rate leaves us with a natural high. The benefits of exercise also come with SLOW RYTHMIC MOVEMENT too, which is soothing and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which will lower our levels of adrenalin, the chemical fuel for anxiety. 

CONNECTION

Whatever the pressure, we know that humans cope best when they feel CONNECTED. We are all different, so connection can take many forms. Spending time with someone you care about, belonging to a group or club, talking with like-minded people online, taking your dog for a walk and seeing familiar faces. Connections help us to feel VALIDATED and heard, and offer a sense of belonging, reminding us that we are not alone. They create opportunities to laugh and feel joy, which are great antidotes for stress and anxiety. 

THE STAFF COUNSELLING CENTRE

Whatever challenges you might be facing this autumn, here at the Staff Counselling Centre we want to assure you of the University’s commitment to supporting your mental health. 

We offer regular workshops on Stress and Anxiety Management, Mindfulness and Wellbeing, and we provide one-to-one counselling sessions with our team of professionally trained therapists.

You can come about anything that is causing you concern, such as anxiety, depression, work-related issues, financial insecurity or debt, relationships, grief, self-harm, dependency/addiction and abuse in all its forms. If we are not the right service to help you, we will signpost you to something more suitable. Don’t put off getting in touch – we are here for you.

 

USEFUL LINKS

How to look after your mental health through the cost of living crisis | The Independent

Cost-of-living crisis and your mental health : Mental Health & Money Advice (mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org)

https://www.itv.com/thismorning/articles/cost-of-living-crisis-helplines

Cost of living crisis: Things which might help | The Blurt Foundation (blurtitout.org)

Get help with the cost of living - Citizens Advice
 

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