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And in Ireland, work-related stress among employees doubled between 2010 and 2015, according to a new study by the Economic and Social Research Institute.
Clearly, unmanaged stress is an issue that affects many members of the UK and Irish population and if left unchecked, can lead to more serious mental health concerns. In fact, the Mental Health Foundation have reported that 32% of adults have experienced suicidal feelings as a result of stress.
To help raise awareness of the health risks associated with unmanaged stress and to eliminate the stigma attached to the issue, this April we acknowledge Stress Awareness Month - an awareness campaign organised by the Stress Management Society.
Some of the common symptoms of stress to watch out for can be split into four areas: psychological, emotional, physical and behavioural. The symptoms that affect you will often accumulate until you are forced to take notice of them, such as:
Effective stress management starts with identifying your sources of stress - known as stressors. The best way to do this is by making a list of situations when you experience the above symptoms. Once you have compiled a list, you can then put measures in place to manage your stress in a healthy way.
Talk: The easiest and most effective way to get involved with the awareness day is to talk openly about stress and its effects. This will help break the stigma associated with stress by introducing some normality to the topic. For starters, you could involve your friends, family or colleagues and if that works, why not take the discussion to social media? #StressAwarenessMonth
Share: Do you have any top tips on how to combat stress? If so, why not share your coping mechanisms with those who will benefit from some of your tried and tested methods? Do they include self-care, meditation or exercise? Spread the word!
Self-care: While it is important that you share your coping mechanisms with others, its vital that you use Stress Awareness Month to focus on your own relationship with stress too. When was the last time you took time out for self-care? Schedule some time across the month to focus on you, and you alone, e.g. a spa treatment, watch a film or cook your favourite meal.
Be mindful: Lastly, you should use the awareness event as a reminder to be more mindful of how people respond to stress differently. Try to be more aware in your day-to-day life of the people around you and if someone you know, or don’t know, is experiencing a bout of stress, treat them with some compassion and empathy.
During our lifetime, we will all undoubtedly experience stress in some degree. However, by identifying your stressors early and equipping yourself with the tools you need to overcome stressful situations, you will do wonders for your mental and physical wellbeing.
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