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It has been, shall we say, a rather challenging twelve months. Stress levels for many people have been through the roof or, at the very least, on a bit of a roller coaster ride. Everyone has their own, different ways of showing and dealing with stress, and we believe that understanding how we behave under stress is the first step to making it more manageable.


As a disclaimer, the team at NSPR are most definitely not psychologists. But we are most definitely fans of a little bit of pop psychology, and we’ve come up with a fun way of classifying our team members’ individual approaches to stress. Perhaps you’ll recognise yourself among the menagerie…


The Ostrich – prefers to bury its head in the sand when things are going south, in the vain hope that the source of its stress will just go away of its own accord. It does however possess considerable single-mindedness in its birdy brain and great strength in those long legs, so saddle up and steer your ostrich towards the finish line!


The Headless Chicken – possibly the most well-known of our stress animals, she runs rounds around in circles and achieves very little. But eventually she will stop running, making it much easier for you to pop her into a pot because she’s far more useful as a delicious casserole.


The Lion – roars at everyone and will tear the limbs off anyone who gets in their way. Remember that a lion is part of a pride – it’s ok to rely on those around you for help in taking down that troublesome wildebeest.


The Duck – always appears calm, but beneath the surface, it’s paddling those webbed feet madly to keep making forward progress. The expression, ‘water off a duck’s back’, should serve as a source of inspiration: let the less important issues slide off your back like drops of water, and remember to quack for help if you need it.


The Pig – eats everything in sight, loves to wallow. Eating your feelings is seldom a good idea, but unlike the poor pig who is confined to its pen, you can get step away from a stressful situation, go for a walk, take a breather. Remember that the pig is considered good-tempered, kind-hearted, loyal and smart – they’ve got a lot going for them when life gets stressful.


The Crab – threaten it or place it under too much stress, and you’d better watch out for those snappy claws. The crab has a hard shell for protection, and it’s exceptionally good at moving quickly in an unexpected direction – definitely one for lateral thinking and creative problem solving!


The Jellyfish – useless in the wrong environment, it’s on you before you know what’s happening, and if you get in its way it can be deadly. Although it has no heart, no brain and no backbone, its main strength is its ability to move effortlessly through the roughest of seas.


And lastly…


The Cool Cat – totally zen, nothing stresses them out. The cat is probably what we all aspire to when it comes to stress, but alas, not everyone is a cat person (and we think that’s fine).


Perhaps you recognise yourself among these stress animals, or maybe you’re a different species entirely. Whichever animal you identify with (or maybe you’re a weird hybrid of several), learning to tame it is the first step towards managing whatever curveballs life decides to toss your way.