April 1st-30th 2018
April has been stress awareness month since 1992 - The aim of this is to increase public knowledge of stress, what can cause stress and what can be done to reduce and manage stressful episodes – and to recognise that stress is a normal part of life that we all experience from time to time.
Stress can be caused by anything from a minor event to a potentially life threatening health condition – whatever the cause, the feelings of anxiety and stress can have a big impact on our life.
Stress can have a big Impact on our mood, sleep, appetite and even our physical health if we develop poor coping mechanisms such as unhealthy eating , smoking, drinking and a lack of physical exercise.
With our modern and demanding lifestyles, family commitments, increasing workloads and what seems like less time to focus on ourselves and unwind, it’s easy for stress to creep into our lives. The effects of stress can mean that we don’t always think about a situation in a rational way and can cause us to catastrophize what is happening and the bleakness of the situation. As well as feeling the way we do it can often result in us taking out our frustration on others and not thinking about what we are doing, only reacting to the stressful stimulus.
Tips for managing stress
Keep yourself healthy – there are so many benefits to keeping healthy and getting yourself into good shape. Whether it is changing your diet, exercising more or getting a health concern investigated, feeling as though you are in control of your body will help you to feel in control of your life.
Make the changes you have been thinking about – if you’re not happy with something in your life and you have the power to change, make it happen this month! Do something that works towards a positive change in your life.
Live in the present – it’s already happened or it may never happen but you are in control of right now. We can’t change the past and we can’t know what the future holds. Enjoy life now and spend more time doing the things that make you happy.
Try not to dwell on the negatives – think about all the great things you can do and the things that make you and others happy – tell people and remind yourself of all the positive things in your life.
Laughter is the key to happiness – what makes you laugh? Is it a funny story, a ridiculous video or spending time talking to that friend you haven’t spoken to in a while – do something that makes you smile, or better yet makes you laugh out loud. Laughter is a great cure for stress.
Consider meditation – this doesn’t have to be in a temple in Tibet; take the time to sit down, close your eyes and enjoy the peace and quiet. Try 5 minutes every day this April to take a deep breath, clear your mind and slow down.
Happiness journal – every day this month, write down one or two things that made you smile or made you feel good. It’s easy to forget the things that make you happy and relaxed when you’re feeling stressed. Reading this back can help to remind you that stress isn’t a constant state.
Life is challenging – some things in life are tough, try to think about how you can turn disappointments into positive experiences – what can you learn from these experiences? What can you do different next time? How you can you use this experience to grow and avoid disappointments in the future?
Help others – stress can be relieved and forgotten about when we are helping others and it can be a rewarding experience helping those in need. Can you help someone who is getting stressed out and really needs a helping hand?
Don’t let yourself get rundown – say no to things that you know will pile up and cause you to become stressed out. Sometimes stress situations can’t be avoided so make sure you also make the time to unwind and relax whether this be reading, playing bingo, spending time with friends, going for a bike ride, getting a good night sleep or whatever it is make sure you are getting a balance in your life.
And finally… Stay positive and enjoy life!
What can you do this April for stress awareness month:
· Talk about stress with friends, family and colleagues – talk about the effects of stress and what you do to reduce stress in your life
· Support others who are stressed – check they are coping, what helps them to relax and avoid stressful situations
· Think about what stresses you and try to look after yourself if you suffer from stress
· Take time to enjoy the things in life that make you happy and keep you stress free