“Be kind to yourself”

Hakim Group’s Sally Litchfield talks about the managing and coping with stress


Research commissioned by mental health charity, Mind, found that people identify work as being the most stressful factor in their lives, with 34% of people saying their work life is either very or quite stressful.  

OT spoke to Hakim Group’s head of people, Sally Litchfield about coping and manging stress in the workplace.

 As head of people at Hakim Group, what does your role involve?

My role at Hakim Group as head of people means that I’m passionate about creating an employment experience where people can do their best work.  

 What are some indicators and symptoms that people frequently experience when dealing with stress?

I’ve seen stress manifest itself in many different ways. For example, the emotional signs of stress can include feelings of anger, maybe losing your temper really easily, or people can really ‘overthink’ and can’t switch off with thoughts racing. I’ve also seen stress take the ‘love’ out of things and they lose enjoy doing such as their favourite hobbies or pastimes. Some people can feel sad and often feel lonely or isolated. 

Stress can also impact us physically, often impacting sleep with feelings of fatigue. Other symptoms include a racing heart, difficulty breathing, headaches, digestion concerns. It’s sometimes difficult to spot because it’s different for different people. 

 How can people identify that they are stressed?

The first thing is to be able to recognise the signs of stress for you. If you can try and spot the triggers, it might be helpful to keep a diary to help narrow this down, or perhaps ask a friend or someone that knows you well – often they’ll spot that you’re stressed before you see it for yourself. If you’re ever worried you should seek medical advice, a good place to start would be your doctor. 

 What are some effective techniques for managing stress?

Again, different things work for different people, for me I tend to need to organise my life. This helps me to rationalise my thoughts and prioritise things. I know some people turn to exercise, but in general my advice is to ‘be kind to yourself,’ it’s ok to look after your own needs, it’s not selfish – it’s essential.

 In what ways does Hakim Group offer assistance for the mental health of its employees?

Our mental health steering team are great ambassadors for mental health and really lead the agenda at Hakim Group. But also, one of our core values is being kind, and we have a very kind and supportive team in place. Whilst we have plenty of resources available to employees via our health provider, with a dedicated and supportive team, they are still able to reach out and talk. I know people would want to help, and will always make the time to talk and listen with care, and be as supportive as someone needs them to be.