Stress Awareness Month has been held every April, since 1992, aimed at increasing public awareness around both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.
Stress is a major factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression and linked to physical health problems such as heart disease, problems with the immune system, insomnia and digestive problems. Stress can affect you both emotionally and physically and affect the way you behave.
On a personal level we need to understand what causes our stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us.
Stress symptoms may include:
- irritable, aggressive, impatient or wound up
- feeling over-burdened, anxious, nervous or afraid
- as though your thoughts are racing and you can’t switch off
- unable to enjoy yourself
- depressed, uninterested in life
- as though you’ve lost your sense of humour
- a sense of dread
- worried about your health
- neglected or lonely.
Stress may cause many different symptoms. In these challenging times, it’s very important to develop our resilience to cope with the increased pressure and demand that we are experiencing.
The pandemic and lockdown have been hard and a lot of people are experiencing more stress, anxiety and depression than usual. We miss our family and friends, we feel isolated and are concerned about when things will get back to ‘normal’. The changing rules around lockdown add to the confusion and even those who don’t have money worries may be fearful about what the world will look like post-Covid.
Actions to combat stress
- practicing mindfulness
- being outside in nature
- getting a good night’s sleep
- staying well hydrated
- making time for fun and laughter
- aerobic exercise
- unplugging from digital devices
Whatever event or situation causes you to feel stressed, there are ways of coping with the problem and regaining your balance.