Stress Awareness Day takes place on the first Wednesday of every November (the 4th, in this case) and is promoted to help raise awareness of stress, its effects, and how we can work together to combat this.
According to a 2018 study, over 74% of adults in the UK have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope in the past 12 months.
If unacknowledged, stress can cause all sorts of issues such as substance misuse, burnout, depression and more. Stress also accounts for a high proportion of sick days in work and can effect someone’s whole life.
To help, we’ve suggested 5 stress-busting activities for you to try:
1. Get That Body Moving!
Yes, you guessed it – exercise was always going to be one of the very first points on our list, and that’s because it really does work! Research shows that by exercising, our bodies produce stress-busting endorphins, even if it’s just for a little bit per day. Whether it’s dancing, running, swimming or an activity of your choice – getting your heart pumping is a great way to beat stress.
2. Tell a Friend
Whether it’s a work, personal or financial issue that is causing your overall feeling of stress, sharing your feelings with somebody you trust can be a great way of relieving some of the building tension in your mind.
They may be able to suggest a solution or path you hadn’t considered, or maybe just offer a comforting word and an ear to listen. Keeping our emotions to ourselves is known to impact negatively on mental health – so always speak up!
3. Do Something That Makes You Happy
We all have those little hobbies that we love, but never seem to have enough time to do. If you feel overwhelmed with work and deadlines, “wasting" time on fun activities and hobbies may seem counter-productive, but it’s really the opposite!
Taking some time out to do something you really enjoy is like pressing the reset switch after a hard day, and can help to relieve stress and tension while also promoting happiness. Spend some time to read a book, play with a pet, or listen to music to refresh your mind.
4. Practice Some Mindfulness
You don’t have to get the yoga mat out or get into a deep meditative state to practice some everyday mindfulness, which will go a long way to alleviate those little moments of stress that creep in to every day life.
You could start with some simple mindful breathing exercises, focusing on your breathing and how the air feels flowing around your body. Some people try slowing down their movements such as walking or stretching and paying close attention to every feeling they experience in their body.
5. Make a Note of It
If you are having a hard time making sense of some of your feelings and emotions, such as high levels of stress, then writing them down and making some notes could be an effective way of tracking your triggers and limits.
The process of writing down your feelings will not only create a calmer mood once you have expressed yourself, but you can re-read your notes and try to figure out what types of places, people and situations seem to cause you the highest level of stress. Limiting your contact with these particular people and places will highly likely be an instant destress tool for you to implement in daily life.