Stress is how we react when we feel under pressure or threatened and usually happens when we are in a situation that we don’t feel we can manage or control.
There are many stressors that we can come across in day-to-day life, especially in the unprecedented times we live in, with the cost of living continuing to rise and people constantly working to make ends meet.
This year, International Stress Awareness Week looks to highlight experiences of stress and raise awareness of stress management. This year the awareness week runs from October 30th to the November 3rd.
This data suggests there may be more need for International Stress Awareness Week than ever before, and the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) wants to raise awareness of stress prevention.
What is International Stress Awareness Week?
Its purpose is to:
Raise the profile of stress-related issues, both in the home and workplace
Combat the stigma often associated with personal stress
Change attitudes towards the management of stress in the world of work
The ISMA has a register of professional practitioners and consultants who offer individual support, as well as coaching and training courses within the workplace, in various different industries.
The centrepiece of International Stress Awareness Week is Stress Awareness Day Online Summit, on International Stress Awareness Day, which this year takes place on Wednesday November 1.
Speaking about last year's event, Professor Sir Cary Cooper CBE, a world-renowned expert on workplace wellbeing who is giving the opening keynote on Beyond Stress Management: Building Organisational Resilience and Wellbeing, commented: “The pandemic brought about some salutary changes, including hybrid/remote working and a greater awareness of the importance of wellbeing in the workplace.
“But stress and mental-health issues are still widespread, together with the stigma attaching to them. ISMAUK are to be applauded for their work in this field and for their excellent online summit, an unmissable date for anyone with an interest in workplace wellbeing.”
What is stress?
Stress is the body’s way of responding to too much pressure and, when this becomes overwhelming, stress occurs, and the body experiences the fight or flight stress response. Stress can have a negative impact on our health.
How do I know if I’m stressed?
Below are just some of the many signs and symptoms that are indicators that your body could be under too much pressure:
Inability to concentrate or make simple decisions
Becoming rather vague
Less intuitive and creative
Undue worrying / racing thoughts
Feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated, or unfocused
Depression and anxiety
Insomnia or waking still tired
Prone to accidents
Extra sensitive to criticism
Feeling out of control
Lack of motivation
Lack of confidence
Lack of self-esteem
Aches/pains and muscle tension/grinding teeth
Weight loss or gain
Hyperventilating/lump in the throat/pins and needles
Nervousness or shaking uncontrollably
Cold or sweaty hands and feet
Menstrual changes/loss of libido/sexual problems
Heart problems/high blood pressure
No time for relaxation or pleasurable activities
Prone to accidents, forgetfulness
Increased reliance on alcohol, smoking, caffeine, recreational or illegal drugs
Becoming a workaholic
Poor time management and/or poor standards of work
Self neglect/change in appearance
Insomnia or waking tired
If you notice these symptoms taking place for a prolonged amount of time or getting worse, make an appointment to see your GP or call NHS 111. If you live in England, you can also refer yourself for psychological therapy through the NHS IAPT service without seeing your GP.