Tag Archives: top tips

Mental Health Awareness Week: Workplace Stress

30% of working parents feel burnout regularly

This Mental Health Awareness Week is focusing on Stress. Managing stress levels and promoting wellbeing in the workplace is considered crucial to maintaining a productive workforce. Yet stress is still a big problem for many. 

Stress can be caused by many things but for working parents a major source of stress can be the ongoing struggle to balance the demands of work and home life. In addition to the ongoing need to arrange and pay for childcare, find workable arrangements during the school holidays, and sort out the daily school run and scheduling of after-school activities, many parents feel a sense of guilt that they are not able to give their work or their home life as much time and energy as they would like.

When you’re feeling stressed at work here are some tips you can try to help reduce stress levels:

Ask for help
Everyone needs help from time to time. Have a chat with your manager about your workload and how they can help you solve any problems you are having.

Striking a balance
Balancing your time can be a real challenge as a working parent. Occasionally you may need to work longer hours to get something done, but try to claim this time back later if you can.

Be realistic
Remember, you can’t be ‘perfect’ all the time. Set boundaries to ensure you’re not taking on too much and be realistic with the targets and goals you set.

Get into a habit
Do something at the end of each working day, such as tidying your desk or making a list of what needs to be done the next day. This can help you to switch off from work.

Develop relationships
Connecting with your colleagues can help to build up a network of support and make work more enjoyable.

Take short breaks
Try to take short breaks throughout your day, as well as time away from your desk at lunchtime. Why not try going for a short walk outside

Parenting NI are delighted to be working with businesses and organisations throughout Northern Ireland in supporting their parent employees. To find out more about what we offer click here.

Having conversations about Mental Health in the Workplace

Aside from the theme of Stress, Mental Health Awareness Week aims to highlight the importance of Mental Health and reduce the stigma around talking about it. This week over 300 radio stations joined to broadcast the same message about mental health. They are calling on the law to be changed and make it a legal requirement to have trained mental health first aiders in every workplace or college.

It can be difficult to approach having a conversation with a colleague about mental health, but we all have mental health just like physical health. If we noticed a colleague had the cold or was in pain we would ask them how they were doing and show support. However, it can be more difficult to notice and also very difficult to ask about how someone is doing mentally. 

There is no perfect way to start a conversation about someone’s wellbeing, but just being there to listen in an empathetic and non-judgemental way can help. Below are some tips on how you might approach a colleague, someone you work with or manage, if you’re worried about them.

  • Choose a place you can chat privately – maybe suggest going for a walk or grabbing a coffee
  • Choose an appropriate time, like a break time or lunch
  • Show that you are actively listening by giving them eye contact and physical and verbal nods.
  • Ask open questions – “How are you today” – sometimes making it about the present can prevent the ubiquitous “I’m fine” response
  • Reassure the person that it is okay to talk
  • Let them know that you are there to listen to them and help if they need you to 
  • If mental health is being discussed in the news why not use this as an opportunity to bring it up in the office and get conversation going?

Time to Change have great resources which can be downloaded from their website on having conversations about mental health. 

Book Lovers Day: The Benefits of Reading with Your Child

The 9th August is National Book Lovers Day and bibliophiles all over the world are sharing their adoration online for all things books.

So, to mark the occasion we thought it might be a nice time to remind you all of the benefits of reading with your child.

It is never too early to start reading to your child.  Even very young babies enjoy the sound of their parents / carers voice when being spoken to, sang to or read to. Talking to, singing / nursery rhymes and reading to your child are all important factors in helping children become more aware of sounds and words than in learning to read.

Did you know?

Reading to your child can help them develop:

  • good language skills
  • a love of books
  • skills to communicate
  • listening skills
  • imagination
  • curiosity

Reading and sharing books with your child:

  • enhances relationships and bonding between parent and child.
  • promotes interaction and special time between parent and child.
  • establishes a good foundation for your child in learning to read and write.

Tips while reading to your child:

  • Be familiar with the story
  • Sit comfortably so both can see the book
  • Make it sound interesting
  • Encourage child to turn the pages
  • Point and Talk about the pictures
  • Use this time for a cuddle
  • Use props
  • Children love to hear and look at books over and over again

Remember, you’re your child’s favourite story teller! Reading together is fun so let your child pick the book and enjoy a bedtime story together tonight.

Coping With Exam Results Stress

Exam Results

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Exam results day is upon us! It is normal to want the very best for your child’s future and to therefore feel a little anxious about their exam results.

Stress is normal but it’s not good for you or your child to be worrying. In this blog we’re going to give you some top tips on how you can ease your own stress and help your young person on results day.

1. Get a good nights sleep
We can often find it difficult to sleep if we have worries playing on our mind but a nice sleep the night before will put you in a good frame of mind for what lies ahead. Sticking to a normal routine will also help to keep things as worry free as possible.  If you are well rested emotions are less likely to boil over due to tiredness.

2. Be prepared for ‘Plan B’
If the results don’t go the way you’re hoping for or aren’t what you expected, encourage your young person to think about other options, for example looking at different courses/universities through Clearing.

3. Keep calm and don’t panic
Try to remain calm and encourage your child to stay calm and not to worry if they don’t get the results they need or would have liked. Encourage them to take deep breaths and to relax as it will make it easier to process everything and think through their next steps.

4. Remember to reassure
Try to promote the positives regardless of the results. Your young person will probably worry about letting you down so reassure them that they won’t be letting anyone down and that you will be there for them to work through the next steps.

5. Take your time
Encourage your child not to make decisions too quickly. Sit with them to discuss what they want to do next and weigh up the options. Clearing opens in the afternoon and so gives you time to prepare and reassess the situation before starting the process.

What can my child do to reduce exam results stress?
Below are a few things you can do to make you and your child feel more at ease before results day. Worrying won't change the result to try and make sure everyone in the house feels relaxed.

If you are feeling anxious or your young person is anxious and feeling disappointed with their exam results there is help and support available. Parents you can give us a call on 0808 8010 722 or have a chat with us on Web Chat between 10 am and 2 pm. Your child may find the links below useful.

NI Direct Results   CCEA Results Information UCAS Results Helpline   BBC Advice

Coping with Exam Stress

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We have officially entered exam season which can be a very challenging time for both children and parents/carers. The pressure to revise and to perform well can be very stressful for young people. Revision is all the more challenging with the lovely weather we’ve been having!

Parents and carers want the best for their young people and therefore exam pressure is also very concerning for them.

Last month the BBC reported that education staff had told the Association of Teachers and Lecturers that children as young as six are stressed about exams and tests. Yesterday, Childline released stats to say they have conducted over 3,000 counselling session with young people about exam stress in the past year, a 9% increase on 2014/15.

Parenting NI are very aware of the pressures on young people when it comes to exam time and hear from parents and carers calling the Parents Helpline of concerns around the effects this stress has on their young people and the family as a whole.

Here are some tips for coping with the stresses of exams:

  • Try not to places pressures on the young person for obtaining the top grades to avoid them fearing failure.
  • Reassure your child that there are always other options and ways to move forward regardless of exam performance.
  • Remind your child to take regular, short revision breaks away from the books or the computer and get some fresh air or physical exercise, preferably with another person.
  •  Encourage them to eat well and have snacks whilst revising.
  • Give them space and time to study but let your child know you are available and will make time to help them with revision if they want or need it.
  • Be relaxed about chores, untidiness or moods during revision and exams.
  • Encourage good sleep to maintain their energy.
  • Be supportive when it comes to any worries your young person may have.

If you have concerns about exams and the stress your child is under please give us a call on 0808 8010 722. You can also have a chat with us online using web chat between 10:30 am and 11:30 am and 1 pm and 2 pm Monday to Friday.