Stress Awareness Month 2021
Research conducted by www.stress.org.uk identified that 65% of people in the UK have felt more stressed since COVID-19 restrictions began in March 2020 with feelings of disconnection, uncertainty, and a worrying loss of control.
Stress Awareness Month happens every April and aims to increase the public's awareness about both the causes and cures of stress. This year’s Stress Awareness Month is even more crucial after experiencing a global pandemic that has caused heightened stress and anxiety levels amongst many.
What is stress?
The NHS definition for stress is a reaction to mental or emotional pressure, often feeling like you’re losing control over something, but sometimes there’s no obvious cause.
Symptoms of Stress
During the pandemic you may have felt stressed from losing your job, not being able to see family or friends or even just living in a national lockdown. Stress symptoms can affect how you feel physically, mentally, and even how you behave. Here is an outline of the most common ones:
- Headaches or dizziness
- Muscle tension or pain
- Stomach problems
- Faster heartbeat
- Difficulty concentrating
- Struggling to make decisions
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Constantly worrying
- Being forgetful
Changes in behaviour
- Being irritable and snappy
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Eating too much or too little
- Avoiding certain places or people
- Drinking or smoking more
Dealing with stress
Most people will have felt stressed at one point and some people find stress helpful or even motivating, however, if stress is having a negative impact on your life, then there are things you can try that may help. Here are a few tips to help improve stress levels:
- Talk about your feelings to a friend, family member or health professional
- Be active – make time for some daily exercise and avoid unhealthy habits
- Take control - plan ahead of stressful days or events
- Try mediating or breathing exercises
- Make time for yourself – even if it is just having a bath, reading a book, or taking a nap
- Try to be positive - Glass half full instead of a glass half empty
With COVID-19 restrictions still in place we want you to understand how to deal with stress beneficially. Stress Awareness Month is an opportunity for all of us to learn our stress triggers and coping mechanisms to overcome the feeling of stress and anxiety for the future.
For more information on dealing with stress visit https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/feelings-and-symptoms/stress/