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National Stress Awareness Day falls on the first Wednesday in November each year. Established by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA), the event provides individuals with information and guidance on stress awareness and strategies on how to minimise the risk of stress, particularly in the workplace.
Stress is the body’s natural response to pressure. This response can produce physical and emotional responses and can be caused by a host of different situations or life events. Even positive life changes such as a promotion, purchasing a new house, or the birth of a child can produce stress.
Workplace stress is becoming more common than ever, according to a recent survey from Eve Sleep and Mental Health UK. They found that six in ten employees often wake suddenly in the night with thoughts of work and other worries, at an average of four times a week, or an incredible 215 times a year.
In Ireland, work-related stress among employees doubled between 2010 and 2015, according to a new study by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ERSI). This was one of the steepest increases among the ten western European countries surveyed.
Relationships: Forming positive working relationships with your colleagues can do wonders for your general wellbeing. This will allow you to develop a strong support network, enabling you to share your thoughts and feelings when stressful situations at work occur.
Organise your time: If you feel as though you don’t have enough time to complete your work, take steps to organise yourself. Make a list, determine priorities and set achievable time scales. If you have an issue determining priorities, ask a manager or someone from your support network to help.
Sleep: Ensuring you get enough sleep before work is vital in reducing stress. Aim to get around eight hours of sleep each night and avoid looking at any screens an hour before you sleep.
Eat well: Long working hours and heavy workloads can often create a vicious circle of not eating properly and skipping meals, resulting in you feeling sluggish and low. Eating well balanced meals will help you to keep healthy and maintain your energy for busy days at work.
Some of the most common symptoms of stress can be split into four areas: psychological, emotional, physical and behavioural. Symptoms of stress will often accumulate until you are forced to take notice of them, such as:
To help raise awareness of Stress Awareness Day, you can spread the word on social media by using the hashtag #StressAwarenessDay.
Another way to help promote the campaign is by simply being more open with your friends and colleagues regarding stress. Share your coping mechanisms and try to act more considerately around people who appear to be stressed.
If you want to test your stress levels, click here to access the Stress Management Society’s online stress test.
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