Everyone will at some time within their lives experience stress.
It is how our body reacts when we encounter situations that make us feel overwhelmed, under pressure or unable to cope.
Each individual will respond differently to stressful situations.
A small amount of stress can in some instances be motivational for people. It may also help them meet the demands of home, work or family life,
However, feeling severely stressed over a prolonged period of time can impact negatively on both our physical and emotional wellbeing.
This April is Stress Awareness Month, a campaign which aims to bring attention to “both the causes and cures” of modern stress.
Now in its 29th year, the action month is run by The Stress Management Society, a not-for-profit organisation.
The group state there is still much work to be done if we are to tackle this growing public health issue.
The campaign’s message is more relevant than ever, due to the affect COVID-19 has had on people’s mental health.
65% of adults in the UK felt more stressed following the introduction of Covid restrictions in March last year, according to research from The Stress Management Society and Huawei.
Amongst the 2000 people surveyed, the study identified three causes of concern such as feelings of disconnection, uncertainty and a worrying loss of control.
The theme of Stress Awareness Month 2021 is ‘Regaining Connectivity, Certainty and Control,’ reflecting these key findings of The Stress Management Society’s research.
Hertfordshire Mind Network provide a range of services to help people manage stress including Wellbeing Through Learning courses, Peer Support and Meeting Places.
The local charity explained the importance of increasing awareness around stress, and how our mental health can be affected:
“It is important that we raise awareness of the signs of stress and how to manage it, as over a period of time, stress can be a significant factor in the development of mental health conditions and can potentially make existing conditions worse. For example, if you often struggle to manage feelings of stress, you may develop a mental health condition like anxiety or depression.
“However if you can recognise the signs when you are feeling stressed (this often will include physical signs e.g. tiredness, headaches or an upset stomach) then you can focus on looking after your wellbeing and getting the necessary support before it escalates.”
The NHS offers tips for dealing with stress and burnout which includes:
- Splitting up big tasks
- Challenging unhelpful thoughts
- Talk to someone
- Allow yourself some positivity
- Be more active
- Plan ahead
If you need to talk to someone Hertfordshire Mind Network runs the Nightlight Crisis Helpline, which is open every day of the week from 7pm – 1am on 01923 256391.
For further information about the charity’s other services visit www.hertfordshiremind.org
Additional resources for managing stress are also available from The Stress Management Society’s website: