Stress Awareness Week 2023’s theme, ‘Beyond Stress Management: From Stigma to Solutions’, emphasises the importance of not only recognising and acknowledging stress but also actively seeking solutions and practical strategies to manage stress effectively. It’s a helpful calendar reminder to encourage open conversations about stress and mental well-being, working to reduce stigma surrounding these topics.
Are you stressed?
Stress is a natural response to challenging situations, however too much stress is bad for our health. Someone suffering from too much stress can have symptoms including fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and even physical symptoms like headaches or stomach aches.
It’s difficult to eliminate stressful situations completely, but there are things you can do to prevent stress, and effectively deal with it when it arises. We’ve looked at some expert resources and asked people in our sectors to give us their thoughts on what helps them.
How to manage stress for yourself
Mindfulness and relaxation techniques
Engage in mindfulness practices such as meditation or deep breathing exercises which help calm the mind and reduce stress levels. Dedicate a few minutes each day to consciously focus on your breath, allowing your mind to reset. The NHS has some great mindfulness techniques on their Every Mind Matters page.
Regular exercise is a powerful stress reliever. It releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters. Incorporate physical activity into your routine, whether it’s a brisk walk, a yoga session, or a workout at the gym. Josh Owen, Manufacturing Manager at Nelipak is a big fan of getting outside; “I like to walk and talk – get some exercise, fresh air and have a good chat all in one.”
Effective time management
Prioritise tasks and break them down into manageable steps can help prevent you feeling overwhelmed. Setting realistic expectations for yourself is key to avoiding unnecessary stress, so try saying no when your plate is full. The Mental Health Foundation goes into more detail about the signs, symptoms and ways to protect yourself from stress on their website. They also offer articles, guides, and access to programs designed to improve mental health.
Healthy lifestyle choices
Eating well, staying hydrated and attempting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night is one of the best ways to alleviate stress. James Swann, Client Services Director at Go Inspire, fights stress everyday with simple changes to his lifestyle, adding; “I always aim for a balanced diet, regular exercise and a good night’s sleep.”
Managing stress is a personal journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s essential to explore different resources and strategies to find what suits your needs best. Mind.org.uk has tips for managing stress and building resilience, and offers a wealth of articles, tips, and guides to help people manage stress effectively. Alternatively, mobile apps such as Headspace, Calm, and Moodfit, offer guided meditation, relaxation exercises, and mood tracking, to help manage stress and improve mental health.
However we choose to tackle it, understanding the causes and symptoms of stress and implementing effective strategies, we can feel healthier and more balanced. Even small changes can have a significant impact on stress levels, leading to improved overall quality of life.