Stress Awareness Month

The month of April 2022 is this year’s Stress Awareness month. After a year where 65% of people have reported feeling more stressed than usual, it is more important than ever to be talking about stress and ways we can alleviate it.

 Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. It’s very common, can be motivating to help us achieve things in our daily life, and can help us meet the demands of home, work and family life.

But too much stress can affect our mood, our body and our relationships – especially when it feels out of our control. It can make us feel anxious and irritable, and affect our self-esteem.

If you’re stressed you may feel:

  • feel overwhelmed
  • have racing thoughts or difficulty concentrating
  • be irritable
  • feel constantly worried, anxious or scared
  • feel a lack of self-confidence
  • have trouble sleeping or feel tired all the time
  • avoid things or people you are having problems with
  • be eating more or less than usual
  • drink or smoke more than usual

How can we alleviate stress?

Stress can sometimes be compared to a container, which holds all of the different stresses (big and small) in your life. Your stress container can overfill, which can lead to overwhelm and burnout. Doing activities that you enjoy and taking time out can act as a ‘tap’ to relieve some of the stress in your container. Mental Health First Aid have an excellent interactive Stress Container resource here, which you can use to understand what is causing stress in your life.

 At Mind in Bexley and East Kent Mind we have put together some tips to help empty your stress container:

  • Breathing techniques such as NHS breathing exercises for Stress Breathing exercises for stress – NHS (www.nhs.uk).
  • Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling – talking about your stress can take the pressure off.
  • Spending time outside – taking in nature, focusing on what you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch.
  • Use your hands – be creative! This is different for everyone but it may be knitting, crocheting, cooking.
  • Practice mindfulness Headspace  is our favourite app for this! Or alternatively, Youtube offer many free mindfulness videos for example this 10 Minute Mindfulness Meditation

We have free resources on our Self-Help page  for all to access to give you some self-care tips. If you are experiencing stress, our Wellbeing Line is open every day 10am-3pm or come and see us at our Mind in Bexley office at the Crisis Café open 365 days a year to offer a calm, non-clinical space.