April is stress awareness month
It’s good to highlight an issue that so many of us experience to varying degrees. Small amounts of stress are part of life, yet it can so easily become overwhelming.
I’ve pulled together some links with information and podcasts that may provide you with ideas and reminders. Stress awareness month presents the chance to learn something new. If it’s not you suffering with stress overwhelm right now, it’s probably somebody you know.
I’ve also included a few vintage Place of Serenity blog posts too!
Stress awareness basics
We know the mix for happiness means we must:
- keep active
- make time to do things we love
- eat healthily
- have fun with friendships and family
- make sure we have good quality sleep
- my personal favourite: meditation
Keeping the balance is a challenge in itself!
Mind is the UK Charity that provides information and courses for anyone living with a variety of mental health issues, or supporting someone with them.
Their website has plenty of information and news. One aspect they cover is ‘Stress at Work’. One in six workers in the workplace experience common mental health problems including anxiety and depression. In fact, it’s interesting to note that studies show that work is the biggest source of stress in people’s lives.
Mind Charity offer courses and E-courses to help increase wellbeing. They offer courses for individuals, schools and organisations. This includes dedicated courses for the Emergency Services, like the ambulance, police and search & rescue services.
Follow the link to read for yourself about Mind Charity.
Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place Podcasts
These are great little interviews with people who have had experiences with mental health across a broad spectrum. Zephr Wildman talks about how she dealt with grief after the sudden death of her husband and continues to live a mindful and contented life. Matt Haig discusses his anxiety which he first wrote about in his book ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’. Stephen Fry, who is President of Mind Charity, discusses how he manages his bipolar disorder. Fearne chats easily with her guests so that the subject matter is never heavy.
Here’s the link to catch up on some of these Happy Place podcasts.
Across the UK today 6.5 million people are carers, supporting a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill. With the high levels of stress that come with being a carer, Carers UK offers support and understanding in addition to campaigning for lasting change.
‘Every day 6,000 people become carers. Many don’t know how or where to get help. It can be frightening and very lonely… many of us are stretched to the limit – juggling care with work and family life, or even struggling with poor health ourselves. We often find it difficult to make ends meet if we’re unable to work or if we’ve reduced our working hours to care.
… For some it’s sudden: someone you love is taken ill or has an accident, your child is born with a disability. For others, caring creeps up unnoticed: your parents can’t manage on their own any longer, your partner’s health gets gradually worse.’
Link to Carers UK
Stress – you can’t live with it; you can’t live without it
Dealing with stressful experiences is part of life. We have a habit of thinking negatively about stress. Yet have you ever considered there are positive aspects to stress?
‘The message that stress is always harmful, and life is fundamentally toxic—that is, I think, a big misread on reality.’
Follow the link here, including Kelly McGonigal’s TED Talk on this stress shift.
Stress at Work
So we know that many of us experience high levels of stress at work. We may not be in charge of the challenges, but how we manage the stress is key.
It’s good to see increasingly that work organisations are taking stress awareness seriously. Lincolnshire Police Force have introduced two additional days off per year for officers and staff to nurture their personal wellbeing.
Chief Constable Bill Skelly said: “This is one of a number of initiatives that we will introduce over the next few months. I have been most impressed by the commitment of Lincolnshire Police staff and officers but I am increasingly seeing the impact that this can have on their physical and mental well-being. By encouraging our staff to take time to look after themselves I believe that we can make an improvement to how they feel at work. We hope that this will help to reduce sickness and improve levels of resilience across the organisation.”
More here about managing stress at work.
Signs of stress
Some of your most obvious signs of stress might be easy to pinpoint yet signs of stress can reveal themselves in more complex ways. Your body wants you to be well. Its signals to you are messages that stress is becoming too much and the body is struggling.
Remember that as humans we are designed to be compassionate to our loved ones, so be sure to bring this same self-compassion to yourself.
Let yourself be gentle in making effective changes. Rather than launch into new and sudden changes, try tiny, supportive ones. More here about stress.
Above all, seek support. Don’t let stress get you down.
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach