Stress Awareness Month

0 min read

15 April 2024

Picture of hands stacked on top of each other.

Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992 to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. 

Stress is primarily a physical response, it’s our body’s natural response to dealing with pressure. Sometimes a certain amount of stress can help us complete tasks and feel more energised. However, prolonged, or intense stress can become an issue, and in certain cases can have a negative effect on our physical and mental health. 

Stress can have an impact on a person’s health physically, mentally and emotionally. Often it is a combination of them all. These health issues, when allowed to build up over time, could manifest themselves in issues such as anxiety and depression, hormonal problems, difficulty sleeping, high blood pressure, heart disease and much more. 

Becoming more aware of stress and learning to apply various stress coping mechanisms can help an individual who is feeling overwhelmed by stress. In addition, it is well understood that if people become more stress aware and less shamed of admitting to feeling stressed, then they are more likely to reach out for help when they need it. 

The theme of this year’s Stress Awareness Month is ‘Little by Little’, which highlights the transformative impact of consistent small positive actions on overall wellbeing. The Stress Management Society emphasises how even the smallest steps taken each day towards self-care and stress reduction can yield significant improvements in mental health over time, and they encourage you to undertake a stress test -  click here to access.  

Why not take the first step to increasing resilience with the 7-day guidance and stress management tool from the Stress Management Society, and get wellbeing tips straight into your inbox to help support you during stress - click here

To access a copy of the Stress Management Society’s Guide ‘Taking You from Distress to De-stress’, click here

Habits play a crucial role in our daily lives, shaping our actions and behaviours. Spend some time thinking about the things you already do (or have done in the past), that leave you feeling energised or relaxed versus the ones that leave you feeling anxious, stressed, or exhausted. If you can identify the key healthy habits that you want to adopt, or further develop, you can begin to plan how you’re going to start integrating the required changes into your daily routine. 

Inspire Wellbeing have created tips on forming healthy habits: 

  • Start with the easy/simple stuff: Start small with the aim of forming one new healthy habit and then build on it – layer on others, slowly, as you start to see or feel progress. 
  • Be adaptable: Expect to get side-tracked, life and work can, and will, get in the way – go easy on yourself when you slip up or are inconsistent, pick up where you left off to get yourself back on track. 
  • Find support: Try to form habits and routines with, or get encouragement from, friends and/or family members. 
  • Set reminders and set goals: Set the alarm on your phone, place post-it notes where you’ll see and act on them or download an app that will help you track (and celebrate) progress. You could also use the goal tracker on the Support Hub. To access use password SERCSTAFF. 
  • Celebrate success: Whether small wins or big gains, take time to recognise and celebrate achievements. Use the gratitude diary on the Support Hub to record your progress, and more importantly, your feelings. 
  • Make it fun: Combine the change you are making with something you already love to do –listen to your favourite music while you’re exercising or cooking your healthy meal. 

Putting in place and maintaining healthy habits is a long-term investment in your health and emotional wellbeing and will therefore take time, patience, and effort. 

SERC’s support services include Inspire Wellbeing, Mental Health First Aiders, Health Assured counselling service, and the UK Healthcare – My Healthy Advantage App and can be accessed on the Mind Yourself App under the Healthy Minds section -  click here to access.