Stress awareness day
The first Wednesday in November each year is National Stress Awareness Day.
We all know what it’s like to feel stressed - being under pressure is a normal part of life. But becoming overwhelmed by stress can lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse. Symptoms can be emotional including anxiousness or lack of self-esteem, mental symptoms such as worrying and difficulty concentrating or physical symptoms including headaches and sleep problems.
National Stress Awareness Day is a great opportunity to take a moment to think about our wellbeing and find advice or support on managing stress.
You can't always prevent stress, but there are lots of things you can do to manage stress better.
The NHS recommends the following ‘Stress Busters’ to help you cope.
"In life, there's always a solution to a problem," says Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster.
"Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will only make your problems worse."
These are Professor Cooper's top 10 stress-busting suggestions:
Exercise won't make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you're feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with your problems more calmly.
There's a solution to any problem. The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it's a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else.
Connect with people
A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.
The activities we do with friends help us relax. We often have a good laugh with them, which is an excellent stress reliever.
Have some 'me time'
Here in the UK, we work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we often don't spend enough time doing things we really enjoy.
Set aside a couple of nights a week for some quality "me time" away from work.
Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps build confidence. This will help you deal with stress.
Avoid unhealthy habits
Don't rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. In the long term, these crutches won't solve your problems. They'll just create new ones.
Help other people
Evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient.
If you don't have time to volunteer, try to do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone cross the road or going on a coffee run for colleagues.
Work smarter, not harder
Working smarter means prioritising your work, concentrating on the tasks that'll make a real difference.
Leave the least important tasks to last. Accept that your in-tray will always be full. Don't expect it to be empty at the end of the day.
Try to be positive
Look for the positives in life, and things for which you're grateful. Try writing down 3 things that went well, or for which you're grateful, at the end of every day.
Accept the things you can't change
Changing a difficult situation isn't always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
For more information and further details on how to manage stress effectively take a look at the NHS website at www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/reduce-stress/