Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Learning How to Cope with Stress

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Learning How to Cope with Stress

21st June 2022
In our latest Peer-Led Recovery session, James and Elif from our frontline team facilitated a workshop on how to cope with stress.

In our latest Peer-Led Recovery session, James and Elif from our frontline team facilitated a workshop on how to cope with stress.

Stress is a natural state to help us complete tasks and feel more energised.  And it’s a feeling that we all experience at different times in our lives. But it becomes a problem when it last too long or the feelings are too intense. 

Not surprisingly, people who have experienced homelessness have also experience high levels of stress that can adversely affect both their physical and mental health.  This is why our Peer-Led Recovery sessions are so important, helping residents understand the causes of stress, the different types of stress and how they can make improvements to their lives moving forward.

Elif took time to explain the science around stress and how the body releases ‘stress hormones’ called cortisol, our natural fight or flight response. The session then looked at how we can identify good and bad stress and what the signs might be of this. Residents worked in groups and were given a variety of stress responses on pieces of card and were given a challenge to categorise them into physical symptoms or behavioural signs. 

The whole group came together to think of steps to take when feeling stressed. Here are some examples the group listed:

  • Realise when it is causing you a problem: Are you experiencing headaches, fatigue, sleeplessness, etc.
  • Identify the cause: Try to identify what you can control and what you can’t. There is no point worrying about the things you cannot change or things that will get better in time.
  • Review your lifestyle: What can I change in my daily routine? Diet? Exercise? Smoking/drinking?
  • Seek Help: Speak to someone who will be non-judgemental and productive. There is nothing better than opening up to somebody.

Elif and James shared tips with the group on how each of them can reduce their stress levels:

  • Attend one of our free weekly yoga sessions 
  • Listen to music
  • Have a cup of tea with a fellow resident in the lounge
  • Go to the gym
  • Do something creative
  • Watch a mindfulness mediation video on YouTube.

The session finish with gifts to the residents: stress balls and ambient night lights to help improve their sleep.

“If ever I am feeling stressed, I like to speak to my friends or take a walk outside and get some fresh air. My keyworker is always there for me also which is a real bonus. It’s so great to have someone nearby who can give me some non-judgemental advice.

After this session today, I feel like I am more self aware of what good and bad stress is and when it becomes damaging. What I learned today is that stress is natural and what signs I should look out for if it becomes unhealthy. 

I look forward to using this ambient night light, and getting my own bedtime routine together rather than flicking through social media on my phone.”

Richard, Caritas Anchor House resident

Read more about our other recent Peer Led Recovery Sessions on:

We’d like to say a huge thanks to The Fishmongers Company whose generosity makes these sessions possible.


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