IT Naturally’s Mental Health First Aiders Share Their Top Stress-Busting Tips



April is Stress Awareness Month – we know that workplace stress isn’t a new phenomenon –  Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that stress, depression, or anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health cases in 2020/21.

Little changes in our daily lives can lead to big benefits for our mental health.

That’s from our dedicated mental health first aiders.

April is Stress Awareness Month – we know that workplace stress isn’t a new phenomenon –  Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that stress, depression, or anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health cases in 2020/21. 

The modern office doesn’t just consist of physical space; it’s an interconnected web of virtual interactions and digital pressures.

What is a Mental Health First Aider and Why Have Them?

Mental Health First Aiders are experts who understand the stressors of the modern workplace and champion the human element that sometimes gets overshadowed by the relentless pace of technology.

A recent study by the University of Manchester showed that workplaces with mental health initiatives see increased productivity and reduced absenteeism.

Insights from Our Mental Health First Aiders

Our Mental Health First Aiders are Nkandu Muma, Office Manager and Patrick Neal-Wright, IT Service Desk Manager

Nkandu’s Strategies: Communication & Breaks

Our mental health first aider, Nkandu Muma, pinpoints work stress as a central challenge. 

“It’s essential to talk,” she advises. A chat with a colleague you trust or a manager can be a lifeline. 

Recognising when we have too much on our plate is critical, and Nkandu preaches the importance of taking breaks. These aren’t just pauses in your day—they’re mental circuit breakers that could be as simple as a stroll, a hot drink, or a light-hearted conversation. 

Nkandu practices what she preaches, ensuring she includes at least three breaks in her day – morning, lunch and afternoon – but always fits in more especially if there has been a tricky situation. 

Identifying Stress: What to look for

Our mental first aiders suggest looking for these changes in people:

  • Appearance
  • if they’re more forgetful than usual
  • Are they displaying frustration
  • Withdrawing from group situations 

It’s important to look out for and understand these signs, both in ourselves and our peers.

Patrick’s Approach: Encouragement & Adaptation

Patrick knows first-hand the pressures IT professionals face. 

He suggests, “Get up, go for a walk, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Sitting and stewing in stress can worsen the feeling.” He encourages a culture where everyone feels they can take a moment when needed.

Patrick also highlights that it’s not one-size-fits-all when it comes to stress relief, saying, “Finding what works for you is essential, as everyone is different.” He reinforces that even the simple act of making a warm drink might provide the necessary interlude to recalibrate. 

But what’s paramount is the human connection—if Patrick notices a colleague showing signs of stress, he doesn’t just observe; he reaches out. That offer to step out for fresh air together can be a turning point in someone’s day.

Sometimes, it’s not about crafting solutions but about lending an ear. Long-term stress requires a supportive voice rather than an immediate answer. Patrick reminds us, “Just listen, you don’t always need to offer a solution.”

Balancing Tech and Touch

In the hub of our technical world, we won’t allow the people to be forgotten.

As we lean into AI and machine learning to streamline our processes and enhance efficiency, we should remember that technology serves us best when it frees us to focus on what truly matters: people and their wellbeing.

At IT Naturally, we believe technology’s role is to support human work, never to replace it or overwhelm us.

Recognising digital burnout, our proactive approach to human service desk interactions and network management ensures our clients never feel swamped by technology. Instead, they’re empowered to use it as a tool that works seamlessly in the background, affording them the mental space to focus on their own health and creativity.

Let’s Be Proactive, Together

This Stress Awareness Month, we’re not just talking about stress; we’re pledging to tackle it head-on. 

Inspired by the insights of our mental health first aiders, here are some actionable tips you can incorporate into your team’s routine:

  1. Reflective Tech Use: Use technology to set reminders to take breaks, track your well-being, and even limit time spent on potentially stressful digital platforms.
  2. Active Listening: Create a workplace culture where everyone feels comfortable voicing their stress, knowing they will be heard without immediate judgement or a rush to fix things.
  3. Meeting Hygiene: Incorporate pauses within meetings or set up ‘no-meeting’ time blocks to help reduce Teams/Zoom fatigue and give employees a chance to breathe and refocus.
  4. Physical Activity: Encourage stepping away from the desk for regular short walks or stretching exercises—movement is a proven stress reliever.
  5. Education: Employ learning sessions about stress management and resilience to equip your team with the knowledge to manage their stress better.

The Importance of Small Steps

The theme of this year’s Stress Awareness Month is #LittleByLittle – what it and we suggest is not minimal change, but continuous improvement. 

IT Naturally embraces this in our every action—understanding that the journey to managing workplace stress is a marathon, not a sprint.

In our interconnected world, let’s remember that behind every screen, every email, and every line of code, there’s a human being. It’s our collective responsibility to ensure that as our lives become more entwined with technology, we make sure we are caring for the human soul that drives it. 

At IT Naturally, we want to take the stress out, so you can enjoy not talking about IT. Get in touch today to talk to our friendly team.