Information/support from the National Counselling Society
The wellbeing of our contractors is of paramount importance to us. We recognize and appreciate that you have chosen to trust our services as a provider, and we’d like to remind you that without you the HC community simply would not be as vibrant. We’ve all faced our trials and tribulations of late, we understand that many contractors are facing difficulties with assignment availability and role security – we want to remind you that any such circumstance is temporary and can be weathered. We know the contractor mind-set well, you are resilient, adaptive and optimistic – all values that will allow you to persevere through even the toughest of times. Should you need additional guidance or support we have approached the National Counselling Society – we would like to thank them for providing the in-depth article below. The HC community is one of support and solidarity, remember, we’re here to help.
There is no doubt we have been living through challenging times with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been tough for us all to adjust to a new way of life. This change and uncertainty can cause our levels of stress and anxiety to rise, or lead to low mood and depression. This might be even more acute if you have lost your job or are fearful that might happen.
Talking to a counsellor about what has happened to you and the impact it has had on you and your family, can be of real benefit. We know that holding on to uncomfortable thoughts and feelings tends to increase the risk of longer-term mental health difficulties. Speaking to a professional could not only help you cope better in the short term, but can also act as a preventative measure against the onset of future problems.
Some of the symptoms of anxiety include:
• Feeling nervous, restless, or tense
• Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
• Having an increased heart rate
• Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
• Feeling weak or tired
• Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
• Having trouble sleeping
• Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
• Having difficulty controlling worry
• Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
Some of the symptoms of depression are:
• low mood, feeling sad, irritable, or angry
• having less energy to do certain things
• losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy
• loss of concentration
• becoming tired more easily
• disturbed sleep and losing your appetite
• feeling less good about yourself (loss of self-confidence)
• feeling guilty or worthless
• feel more agitated
• lose interest in sex
• have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
A good therapist will give you the opportunity to express how feel, help you untangle complex thoughts and teach you coping mechanisms to help you through each day until your confidence and resilience improves again.
The good news is that there are some simple things you can start doing for yourself, right now, to help calm your nerves or improve your mood.
To decrease anxiety and feel calmer:
• Take time-out. Listen to music, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
• Eat regular well-balanced meals.
• Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
• Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
• Exercise daily. Even just some gentle exercise, like walking is known to provide benefits for your mental health.
• Practice ‘Box Breathing’. Inhale to the count of 4, then hold your breath for another 4 seconds. Exhale slowly to the count of 4, then rest for 4, before repeating.
• Welcome humour. A good laugh goes a long way.
• Be realistic and balanced in your thoughts. Try to balance negative thoughts with positive ones.
• Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
• Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify?
• Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you.
To improve your mood:
• Listen to music.
• Have a good laugh
• Allow yourself to vent.
• Spend more time with sympathetic friends and relatives.
• Do not bite off more than you can chew, keep tasks and goals realistic and manageable.
• Do more of the things you normally enjoy, even if they no longer seem appealing.
• Get out of the house, even if only to buy milk or walk in the park.
• Be patient with yourself.
• Avoid making or acting upon big decisions.
• Get as much sleep as you can.
• Enlist the advice and support of your doctor. Maybe ask your doctor for counselling and take things from there.
• Decide who to call in an emergency should you feel overwhelmed by negative or suicidal thoughts. This may be a relative or friend, your doctor, or a helpline (e.g. the Samaritans). Think of a backup in case your preferred option is unreachable. Save their contact numbers into your phone so that they are always at hand.
There are also some great apps for your phone that provide information about mental health, trackers for you to record how you are feeling and relaxation techniques. You can download many of them on to your phone free of charge.
Whatever you do, please don’t struggle in silence; there’s a lot of help and support out there to help you get through these difficult times.
How to Find a Counsellor
If you want to be able to choose a counsellor, and/or the NHS waiting list in your area is long, the National Counselling Society has a Register of qualified, insured, supervised counsellors. You can view their profiles and contact them directly through the website directory: