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Everyone has experienced some form of stress in their lifetime, whether it’s been mild or severe. April is Stress Awareness Month, which has been held every year since 1992. It aims to raise further awareness around the causes and cures of stress, making it an open and honest topic for everyone.

With 74% of adults feeling high levels of stress, it’s clear that it’s a common issue. Many mental health problems derive from stress, and it can link to physical problems, too. So, it’s important we understand what stress is, the different ways we experience it and how to combat it.

 

Stress is…

 

A normal human reaction to change, and how we react when we feel under pressure, threatened or overwhelmed. It can be positive, making sure we are alert, motivated, and ready to avoid danger. However, if stress continues or comes in high volumes, the effects can be bad for your mental and physical health.

 

Some things you should look out for when trying to recognise the signs of stress:

 

  • Feeling overwhelmed and drained
  • Feeling impatient and irritable, maybe aggressive
  • Feeling anxious and nervous
  • Feeling depressed and negative

 

There are some physical sensations and behaviours that you can look out for too:

 

  • Tension in your muscles
  • Finding it difficult to sleep or stay asleep
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Struggling to eat or overeating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Panic attacks
  • Changes to your menstrual cycle

 

It’s also important to look for signs in your employees regarding their stress levels:

 

  • Loss of motivation and commitment
  • Lower confidence levels
  • Emotional reactions
  • Arguments

 

If you’re feeling stressed, you don’t have to suffer – there are things you can do to try and help. They won’t act as an instant cure but reducing your stress levels will make it more manageable and bearable.

 

  • Exercise to help boost your mood when you’re feeling overwhelmed. As little as a short walk can be enough to make a difference.
  • Relaxation activities like yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises.
  • Eating healthily and ensuring you’re sleeping enough.
  • Don’t take on further responsibilities if you’re feeling overwhelmed – learn to say no.
  • Learn to accept that you can’t control everything – try not to worry about things you cannot change.
  • Talking to family, friends, and colleagues when you want someone to listen or need some advice.
  • Seeking professional help – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help you understand the way your thoughts and feelings are connected and control your thoughts around situations that cause your stress.

 

For more information about stress awareness month, follow this link: https://wellbeinginfo.org/stress-awareness-month-2022/

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