By the Housing First Dual Diagnosis Team
April marks the start of Stress Awareness Month!
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. Despite this running for so many years there is still a long way to go! According to the Mental health Foundation 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
What is stress?
We all know what it's like to feel stressed, but it's not easy to pin down exactly what stress means.
Stress is the psychological and physical response to internal or external stressors which can affect almost every part of the body, shaping how people feel and behave. It’s important to know that stress is a common human response that we all encounter. Our brains and bodies are developed to experience stress and act in response to it. It is our reaction to changes or stressors that motivate our minds and body to generate natural responses.
Is stress a mental health problem?
Being under stress is a regular part of life. It can help you take action, feel more motivated to achieve better outcomes. But if you regularly feel exhausted by stress, these feelings could start to be a problem for you.
Stress can trigger mental health problems, and make current problems worse. For example, if you often struggle to cope with feelings of stress, you may develop a mental health problem like depression or anxiety .
Equally, mental health challenges can contribute to stress. You might find managing the day-to-day symptoms of your mental health problem, managing medication or visiting health care appointments can potentially become extra sources of stress.
How to manage stress
There are numerous steps you can take to deal with being under stress. For more information visit: www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/stress/dealing-with-pressure/
Identify your triggers: Ongoing stressful events, worrying about future events, feeling overwhelmed at work, poor physical health, worrying about family or friends.
Manage your time, take time out: Making some changes to the way you manage your schedule could help you feel more in control of any challenge’s you are confronting, and more able to cope with stress.
Address some of the causes: This could be, housing and finances, student life, or family and personal life
Accept the things you can’t change
What can you do for Stress Awareness Month?
- Talk about Stress and it’s effects – lets work together to reduce the stigma that is associated with stress by talking about the topic openly and freely with friends, family and colleagues.
- Share your coping mechanisms – if something has worked for you why not share it. It might benefit someone you care about and in the meantime, it might help you take your focus off your own challenges.
- Be nice to those who are stressed and anxious – we are all undoubtedly going to experience stress and anxiety in our lifetime so treat others going through it with compassion and empathy.
- Look after yourself – we all need to think more about self–care. Take time out of your day to relax or do something that you enjoy. Don’t forget to exercise and eat well, even when you feel too stressed.
The most crucial thing you can do when you are stressed or anxious is to make sure you are continuing to look after yourself. Make time to relax when you need to and learn to say no to requests that are too much for you.