The first Wednesday of every November, the 3rd in this case, marks national ‘Stress Awareness Day'.
Over the past few years, the Covid-19 pandemic and various lockdowns have added a lot of additional stress to many of our lives. At some point in the last year, 74% of us have felt so stressed that we have felt unable to cope (Mental Health Foundation).
This additional stress impacts us in all aspects of our lives. While stress in small doses can be useful, acting as a motivator to complete tasks, allowing you to feel excitement and adrenaline, too much stress can have a hugely negative impact, causing changes in your mood, physical affects to your wellness and even adding a strain to your relationships.
Typical indicators of stress
The following points are some key things to look out for in yourself, your friends, colleagues and family, which could indicate they are under significant stress.
Physical signs of stress:
· Stomach problems
· Muscle tensions or pain
· Feeling tired or dizzy
· Fast heartbeat
· Dry mouth
· Shortness of breath
Mental signs of stress:
· Worry about future or past
· Imagining the worst
· Being forgetful
· Lack of concentration
· Feeling irritable
· Racing thoughts
· Going over and over things in your mind
· Making more mistakes than normal
· Feeling down or low
Behavioural signs of stress:
· Eating more or less
· Anxious behaviours – nail biting, tapping etc.
· Avoiding others
· Sleep problems
· Rushing tasks
· Drinking or smoking more than usual
· Being irritable or snappy
You might not be able to avoid stress but there are things you can do to manage it.
We asked our consultants how they like to relax after a stressful week.
Ideas for managing stress at home:
· Treat yourself to some comfort food
· Go for a nice long walk
· Meet up with friends or family for a chat
· Cuddle your pet!
· Watch your favourite film or TV series
· Have a pamper Day
· Declutter or clean your home
· Listen to music!
· Play some sport (Steven’s personal favourite would be paintballing!)
· Go to the gym
How to destress in the workplace:
· Enjoy your favourite hot drink
· Focus on the positives or recent achievements – remember you are more than capable!
· Stress ball
· Write down all of your tasks
· Talk to colleagues – explain your problems
· Humour! Take a moment to just have a laugh
· Take a moment and mute your phone briefly
· Go for a walk or step outside for some fresh air
· Tidy up your desk or workspace
· Organise ‘that’ draw - you know the draw we mean, draw that homes everything but the kitchen sink!
“A tidy desk equals a tidy mind!”
Key takeaways to help you manage stress
· Most people feel stressed sometimes – that’s ok!
· Some stress can be helpful. Too much stress may make you ill.
· Stress affects everyone differently, but there are common signs you can look out for.
· An individual’s stress tolerance is unique to them.
· There are many different causes of stress – always be kind, we never know what others may be going through.
· Stress is not an illness itself, but it can make you unwell if it is very bad or if it lasts a long time, and can impact existing health conditions.
Visit ‘Rethinks’ advice and information pages about stress to learn more.