Diversity and Inclusion spotlight – November 2023

In this month’s Diversity and Inclusion update, Chloé François-Oatway from the Create Analysis Function D&I Working Group talks openly about her experiences of stress and explores coping strategies in light of Stress Awareness Day and asks, ‘What does stress look like for you?’ 

“I have been told countless times “Stress affects everyone” and “Relax!” but those phrases are never really helpful to me. My colleague Ben talks about how he experienced stress when undergoing performance management procedures; “I have been through this myself and came under very severe stress. It was not pleasant, and I did feel quite lonely.” Now this helpful. Lonely is a word I can associate with my own emotions and feelings when I experience stress. I’m often alone when my stress spikes to unbearable levels and feeling lonely always makes it feel so much worse. 

I’m not one of those people who excels under pressure and works better when a bit stressed. Stress can paralyse me and until I feel supported and calm, I cannot do my work properly. I’m more likely to make mistakes and when I do, I feel even more stressed. So, I bury myself in work, hoping that’ll make things better. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. 

I’ve been told this other phrase: “You do not have to suffer silently”. So, I talk. I talk to everyone and anyone who will listen to me ramble on about my stressors. Sometimes I stress about how I’m talking too much about my stress to someone. That’s most likely my anxiety disorder being overly friendly. But just talking to someone about how I feel is almost always my first step to feeling better. So, talk to someone about what stress looks like for you. 

Not sure how to connect with others? Watch this NHS video on talking to others to support your mental health. 

Need someone to talk to? Here are charities providing free services to relieve stress: The Samaritans, Anxiety UK, No Panic, and Together. For more resources, check out the Better Days Wellbeing website.”