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Compass Support: Stress Awareness month

With April’s Stress Awareness month in full swing, the spotlight on stress and how we cope with it has never been so relevant, particularly in view of the events of the past year.

Stress is the mind and body’s reaction to the feelings caused by actual, or perceived, threats to our survival. For most of us, this translates to the pressures of daily life.

With such a wide range of ways stress can affect a person, here are some common indicators that stress is affecting your life negatively.

Feelings of stress include:

  • Irritability, impatience or aggression
  • Being overwhelmed and not being able to cope
  • Anxiety, worry nervousness and fear
  • Low mood/ energy and depression
  • Disinterest in life, friends or family
  • Inability to enjoy oneself or see the positives in life
  • Lack of self-care

Tracey Quirk, Head of Operations for Compass Support, explains:

As stress can present negative consequences for our mental and physical health, it is important to understand our stressors and what works for each of us to restore balance.

We, at Compass Support, the charitable arm of The Pioneer Group, are aware that there is no ‘one size fits all’ remedy for stress and therefore offer a variety of initiatives to support our clients manage stress by tackling some of these key areas.

Now more than ever there has been a need for mental health & wellbeing support in these difficult times. As a result, we have put on a number of initiatives to help residents manage their stress levels.


Isolation has been a key stressor for many people, particularly in the past 12 months with many people not being able to see their friends and family. Thanks to our brilliant volunteers, early last year, we launched our Telebuddies Befriending service which aims to combat loneliness and help to bring the community together for a much-needed chat.

Keeping Busy

We live in a very busy age, but building time for leisure into your schedule could be key to helping you feel your best. With the lockdowns, ‘popping out’ for a jigsaw or a painting set became difficult for most, so our Health & Wellbeing team put together non-digital wellbeing packs for local residents that include cooking, gardening, knitting and puzzles.


Practising mindfulness can bring many benefits to your emotional and physical health. Learning how to be present in the moment can sometimes sound easier than we think though, which is why we provided a 6-week wellbeing journey, centered on yoga and mindfulness to help you tap into your inner zen. A free resource pack including all you needed to develop your yoga practice, journaling, and meditation was accompanied the course.

Mental Health Support

Life is a journey, sometimes its blue sky and sunshine, admiring the view from the peaks, and other times it can be a struggle. It is important to listen to yourself during these times and understand why you feel as you do, so you can choose your next steps that focus on improving your wellbeing. To support this, we offered a free online course to help manage your mental health, including: understanding stress; low moods; and how to develop resilience. The tools and techniques were aimed to make positive changes to residents’ wellbeing.

The response to Compass Support’s initiatives to tackle stress has been extremely positive and we are already working on a range of future programmes to continue our work to support our clients in this way.

If you are experiencing extreme low mood or self-harming or suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek immediate assistance from your medical practitioner.