Are you aware that April is Stress Awareness month?
Are you aware that it is Stress Awareness month? Awareness days/months provide an opportunity to talk about which some people may be reluctant to do normally. They also provides reassurance that you are not alone, as many people feel, when they experience mental health issues. We have now been living with the pandemic for over a year and anxiety and stress has increased for many.
Are you aware that stress is not necessarily a bad thing?
When I trained to be a Mental Health Awareness trainer in the Civil Service I learnt that stress is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact we all need a certain amount of stress to get through our lives. Without stress we would lack any motivation to get things done and would not be able to deal with challenges. Stress responses such as the Fight or Flight mode were responses that our ancestors felt when their lives were in danger. The main danger would have been attacks from wild animals). There is also the Freeze response that is not as well known.
Are you aware of stress responses in modern life?
The responses have crept into modern life and in response to much less challenging triggers. It is when the level of stress starts to become too much that we need to take action (or preferably when we identify that it is moving towards that stage). Otherwise, the stress that we are experiencing becomes distress rather than stress. When we are in a state of distress we need to de-stress otherwise long-term distress can result in both further mental health and physical health issues.
Are you aware of what you can do to help your stress levels?
Prevention is better than cure. We need to look at our life-style. There is plenty that we can do to help ourselves. We probably know most, if not all, of these things. However, whether we choose to apply them is another matter:
- Eat well
- Stay hydrated
- Have time for relaxation so you can ‘switch off’ from things.
- Make time for exercise – this helps our mental and physical wellbeing.
- Enjoy the company of others when you can – we can now meet others outside for walks, but please keep to the guidelines.
- Try to get a good night’s sleep (remember to switch your phone, tablet or computer off at a decent time so you are not looking at it just before going to bed.
- Take regulars breaks from the computer (this may be more of a challenge, in recent times, when video conferencing has become the norm for many).
- Practise good time management skills which can help us feel more in control.
- Learn to say “no” to people, when appropriate (you may be a people-pleaser and you are always doing things for other people and neglecting yourself.
- Adopt a positive mindset will help you to react to challenges in modern life in a more beneficial way.
- Join a community of like-minded people. You may wish to look at my own Facebook group if you would like help with positive thinking: Taming Mind Monkeys
Are you aware of when you may need to reach out for help to manage your stress?
If you need help to manage your stress please reach out to someone, whether that is a friend or family, a coach or counsellor or a medical practitioner. Please remember that you are not alone and there are many people experiencing the same thoughts and feelings as you. Perhaps now, is the time to do something about it so that you start to de-stress? You may wish to start by looking at other posts on this site that relate to managing stress.