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Fictional Client - Factual Issue - Peter Primary Teacher - Stress at Work.

Peter 42, married to Maria with two young children. 

He’s the main breadwinner in the family. 

They enjoy holidays, the weekend take-away, and going out occasionally with friends. 

Peter’s issue; stress at work. 

What does Peter do? 

He’s a primary school teacher. 

He’s friends think he has the ideal job; playing with children all day, coming home at 3.15pm and then having all those holidays! 

But Peter knows different.


Peter can’t sleep at night; Sundays are worse, his thoughts run away with him.  If only he could switch them off.  He lays awake thinking of all the jobs he will never get done.  As soon as he finishes a job, another one lands on his desk.  He barely has time to teach.  

He is finding stress at work is impacting his health.


Peter has tried speaking to colleagues, but they are all too busy to really talk.  He is working long hours and brings work home.  He never takes a lunch break because that’s not the done thing in his school. 


Peter is exhausted.  He’s started to switch off at home.  He can’t concentrate on having family time because work is continuously running through his head.  He stopped going to the gym and relies on junk food to keep him going.  He’s putting on weight and has started not to care.  He even wonders if stress can cause headaches, as he’s noticed quite a few lately.

Peter has lost interest in going out with friends and is finding it difficult talking to his wife.  He often feels bouts of anger and can be irritable around his family.  Maria says to him that he’s no fun anymore and can’t remember the last time they laughed together.  Peter was unaware of how stress affects the body, until it started happening to him.


Peter feels sad, and like he’s never going to escape. 

He can’t give up his job, they haven’t the finances to do that. 

And Peter feels he has no other skills. 

Who would want him? 

What does he have to offer? 

Peter’s self-worth is declining and he’s very sad but would never tell his wife. 

He didn’t realise what stress can do to you.


Peter needs help and finally gives in when a friend gives him a card of a counsellor he’d been seeing.  It takes Peter a few months before he rings.  He sees the card in his wallet every time he opens it, but is just a little too scared to do anything about it.

Until one day he finds himself thinking about how he could end his stress, and not in a good way.  He then goes home to Maria and his children and realises he needs to sort himself out.


Peter makes the phone call. 

He’s terrified

He’s not someone that talks about his feelings! 

It’s just a job, why did he let it get so on top of him? 

Why did he become so stressed? 

He just feels such a failure. 

Why are other people able to cope at work and he can’t? 


Peter finally made his way to the counselling chair.  He was so nervous and felt so weak.  But the counsellor made him feel at ease.  She gave him space to talk.  To talk like he’d never talked before.  He spoke about his past, which he never thought had anything to do with it.  He spoke about feeling responsible from the age of 10 when his dad left home.  He then became the man of the house and put himself under pressure to make sure his mum and little sister were okay.  He’d never seen his mum cry like she cried when his dad left.   Peter took that in.  He took it in like a sponge, soaking up the stress and sadness. 

Blaming himself and wanting to fix the it!


At that moment he became responsible,

putting the needs of others before his own. 

Peter took this into his adult life. 

He was now responsible for his wife and children. 

He felt he needed to ignore his own emotions and stress and just carry on.  

But his body told him differently. 

He discovered that he needed to communicate his feelings to his wife. 

That they both shared responsibilities. 

And maybe the biggest lesson Peter learnt, was that he had to be responsible for his own wellbeing. 

Because without self-care, he couldn’t help his family. 


Peter became stronger.  He spoke to his boss and shared what was going on for him.  His boss was understanding and gave Peter a little extra time out to get himself back on top. 


Peter’s mind gradually started to clear through weekly counselling sessions.  He was always amazed at where each session went.  He realised he couldn’t plan what he needed to say, he would just talk and let his mind wander.


5 feelings related to stress:


·      Anger

·      Anxiety – fear of the future

·      Dread

·      Loneliness

·      Depression


5 physical signs of stress:


·      Panic attacks

·      Sweating

·      Stomach pains

·      Chest pains/high blood pressure

·      Itchy skin


5 ways to help stress:

  • Eat healthily

  • Get enough sleep

  • Have relaxation time

  • Socialise

  • Exercise


If Peter’s story resonates with you, please contact me for a quick chat on how I can help you.


Email Natalie:

Mobile:  07837 452 791

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