9th April, 2021

How Our Tutors and Team Members Combat Stress

By Kirstan N

We all handle stress in different ways, but most of us have one particular activity we turn to when things get tough. In honour of Stress Awareness Month, we’ve collaborated with some of our tutors (and a few Tutorful colleagues!) to find out their go-to method for winding down after a stressful day.

Fill Your Cup

I don’t mean your cup of tea, although this is a fantastic suggestion by our tutor Alan, who loves to wind down with a cuppa and a few moves in his online chess game.

Our Head of People, Hannah, and our new Product Manager, Natalie, introduced me to the idea of filling your cup, which basically means be selfish.

The concept involves understanding that focusing on what makes you feel happy and cared for can be difficult, and that it's okay to be selfish.

Sometimes you need to “fill up your cup", so that you have the energy and ability to help and care for other people.

Here are some great suggestions from our tutors and Tutorful team members to help you fill your cup.

Create Something

You don’t have to be creative to have fun creating.

My artistic abilities start and end with stick figures and Microsoft Paint, however I love to colour. I’m not talking about those fancy adult colouring books with the intricate designs - nope, I’m talking Marvel Characters, Disney Princesses and Pokémon. To me, nothing is more stress relieving than choosing a new design, grabbing my pens, and zoning out for an hour.

Some of our team at Tutorful agree that crafting is a great method of stress relief, in particular, our Training and Development Lead, Emily. She recently dipped her toes into macrame (using knots to create various textiles) and is a huge fan of upcycling furniture.

It’s awesome when a hobby is able to help relieve stress, but also be productive, too. Emily recently made this beautiful shelf using her new macrame skills!

If you’re worried that you don’t have a creative bone in your body and don’t know where to start, browse our creative subjects! There’s sure to be a tutor to get you started.

Simulated Stress

Video games are a great way to divert your thoughts away from real life, but this can be a double-edged sword.

Many people see games as a way of escaping your real life problems - ignoring them when you should be facing them. However Dr James, one of our tutors, has a different take on them.

He plays games as a way of helping him learn how to remain calm, which I have to agree is a great way to look at it. If you can handle dying over and over again during the same mission without shouting in rage, hopefully this emotional control will transfer to real life situations!

Of course video games don’t have to be stressful. Emily, our Training and Development Lead, loves to lose herself in games such as Animal Crossing. Light-hearted and chilled out games like this are a great way to spend a couple of hours focusing on something other than work/bills/relationships - whatever is your source of stress.

Our tutor, Anna, enjoys playing online games with friends and family, and recommends Among Us and Jackbox. She’s conscious that playing games involves more screen time (when most of us probably have more than our fair share at work) but she says it’s worth it!

Walking, Nature, and Audiobooks

A popular suggestion was going for a scenic walk. Some of our tutors and team members suggested listening to an audiobook whilst walking as a way to truly relax and escape.

Our tutor, Eleanor, is lucky enough to live 5 minutes from a nature reserve, so she sticks on her favourite podcast and goes out to enjoy the view. Our developer, Carl, mentioned that for him the walking is usually just to appreciate and remember what’s around us - seeing the beauty in the little things.

A recent photo from one of my own walks in the Peak District.

One awesome suggestion was from our student lead, Luke, who recommends a walk or run accompanied by a playlist to match your mood/level of stress.

Meditation and Breathing

Possibly one of the most well recognised methods of stress relief is meditation - but how many of us actually partake in it?

I, for one, am a complete amateur when it comes to meditation, but luckily our tutor Dr James has a few tips for us. He meditates most days and says that whilst there are lots of different meditation techniques, observing the breath is a core method. He purchased a book that outlined an 8-week course and has been following the steps rigorously over the past year, which has helped him manage his stress.

If meditation has never piqued your interest, yoga could be a great alternative, Better still, we have almost one hundred experienced yoga instructors on our website that would love to help you get started out.

A Few More Suggestions

I just want to say a quick thank you to all the tutors that contributed to this blog via our Community Forum. There were some great suggestions, so I’ll add a few more below:

- Sofa time. Rewatching a film or tv show you’ve already seen a ton of times can be a great stress reliever.

- Organise your thoughts. Writing lists can help you keep track of your priorities and feel a sense of achievement when you tick things off.

- Reading. Something intense and philosophical can help provide a complete distraction and something to focus on other than stress. However sometimes you might need something light - the kind of book you can read with one eye open.

- Pets. Spending time with pets - a given really!

- Surround yourself with plants. They provide visual stimulation, improve air quality, and can even help productivity and boost creativity.

Own Your Stress

Of course not all stress can be relieved with a simple activity. This blog encompasses a few suggestions from our tutors and staff of what works for them when they’ve had a tough day or week.

If you feel that even after trying out some stress-relieving activities you’re still feeling run-down or under too much pressure, it could be worth reaching out to your friends or family or seeking help from your GP.

You can even check out stress.org.uk for some useful tips and advice.

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