Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992. This is a month designed to raise awareness of stress including its causes, the detrimental effects it has on our physical and mental health and the ways in which we can help reduce the levels of stress we all experience.
According to the Mental Health Foundation 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
So what is stress?
Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. It’s very common and small amounts of stress can even be motivating to help us achieve things in our daily lives and can help us meet the demands of home, work and family life.
But too much stress can affect our bodies, mood, and our relationships, especially when it feels out of our control. Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period of time can also lead to feeling physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, often called burnout.
It’s important to always remember that stress can affect people differently, everyone is unique and handles stress in their own way.
Below are a few signs of stress or burnout:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Having racing thoughts or difficulty concentrating
- Feeling irritable
- Feeling constantly worried, anxious, or scared
- Lacking self-confidence
- Having trouble sleeping or feeling tired all the time
- Avoiding things or people you are having problems with
- Eating more or less than usual
- Drinking or smoking more than usual
Top tips to deal with stress
- Keep Active – Being active can help to burn off nervous energy and also help release endorphins. Many researchers have found that a healthy body can help promote a healthier mind.
- Talk to someone – Trusted friends, family and colleagues or contacting a helpline can help if you’re struggling.
- Split up big tasks – If a task seems overwhelming and difficult to start, try breaking it into manageable pieces and give yourself credit for completing them. Creating small, achievable goals can seem less daunting than one huge task.
- Try to get a good night’s sleep – stress can affect your sleep and also sleep routine. If you’re struggling to sleep try changing your pre-bedtime routine, try also limiting your screen time in the lead up to bed.
- Be kind to yourself – if you find yourself struggling with your mental or physical health, don’t beat yourself up, you are not alone. Speak to somebody and seek the help you need.
- Allow yourself positivity – Take time each day to think about the good things in your life. Consider what went well that day and try to list three things you’re thankful for.
Our Online Stress Awareness & Management Training
We offer a Stress Awareness & Management Training course for everyone, to help identify and prevent stress in the workplace. This IOSH approved and CPD accredited course is split into 3 easy to follow sections and takes just 30 minutes to complete online.
In this course you will learn:
- What stress is and how to identify it
- How stress affects the mind and body
- Techniques for preventing or reducing stress
There are many charities and organisations dedicated to supporting mental health and well-being. Below are just a few:
NHS – If stress is affecting your daily life or causing you distress call NHS 111 or talk to your GP. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/understanding-stress/
Time to Change – https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/
Samaritans – https://www.samaritans.org/
Mental Health Foundation – https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/stress
Stress Management Society – https://www.stress.org.uk/
Reading well – https://reading-well.org.uk/books/books-on-prescription/mental-health