Stress Awareness Month was set up in 1992 by the Stress Management Society to help raise awareness of the causes of stress and identify what steps we can take to help manage the impact. They provide an opportunity to talk openly about stress, and its effects on our mental health and emotions with friends, families, colleagues, and professionals.
The term 'stress' has become all too common in our daily life, and almost everyone experiences it at some point in their lives. Stress can lead to a host of mental health and physical issues, and it is important that we’re all able to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us.
What is stress?
If you feel overloaded, under pressure, or out of control your body releases a hormone called adrenaline which gives us a boost or motivates us to act quickly. But too much stress can make us feel upset, worried, or unable to cope.
Stress is not an illness, but it can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. It can also lead to physical conditions like stomach problems, dizziness, skin conditions, or heart disease.
What causes stress?
The causes of stress can vary from person to person, and the level of stress you are comfortable with may be lower or higher than those around you. Pressure at work, home, illness, or sudden life events can all lead to stress.
The cost-of-living crisis and stress
Worrying about money can affect your mental health, and poor mental health can make earning and managing money that much harder. It can start to feel like a vicious cycle.
According to a recent poll carried out by the Mental Health Foundation, almost one in three(30%) adults in the UK are having poorer quality sleep due to concerns about personal finances.
If you’re worried about money and it’s affecting your mental health, we have some useful information that might help.
Budget and Benefits Calculator: Our calculator can help you find out how much benefit you are eligible for and how much better off you might be in work. You can also see how changes in your household budget can affect your income. Try our Budget and Benefits Calculator.
Talk to Our Money Advisors: It can feel hard to talk about money problems, but if you are struggling to pay your rent or keep up with bills, our Income Team and Money Advisors are here to help. Contact us before things get too tough. We are here to support and not to judge. Call 01386 420 800.
Some tips for managing stress
Stress isn’t avoidable but it is manageable. It is essential that you can identify stress-related problems as early as possible, so that action can be taken before serious stress-related illness occurs. Here are some great self-care tips from the Stress Management Society to help reduce and manage stress.
- Be more active: Regular exercise is a natural stress reliever that can help you manage stress effectively. You could try adding walking to your daily routine or taking up a sport. If you are less able, you could do other fitness exercises such as seated yoga. Even a little bit of activity can bring health benefits. If you need help, ask your GP, pharmacist, carer, or key worker for advice.
- Reduce screen time: Spending too much time on our phones or other devices can lead to information overload, and fear of missing out (FOMO) on social media. Set time limits and turn off or limit notifications to reduce the amount of screen time.
- Improve your diet: According to a recent study at the University of Leeds, a healthier diet which includes fruit and vegetables is not only good for your physical health, but it is also beneficial for your mental health.
- Positive mindset: When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you're able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way. Each day take time to think about the good things in your life. Try to list three things you're thankful for, however small.
- Recognise when you need professional help: If stress is affecting your daily life more frequently and causing you distress it is important to speak to a professional such as your doctor, a counsellor, or a therapist. There are also other organisations that can help. You can visit the Mind website or the Samaritans website for advice and support.
More help and resources
Stress.Org – 30 day stress management challenge for April
Stress Management Society – Useful tips and resources to reduce and avoid stress.
Mind – money and mental health advice.
Mental Health and Money Advice – Helping you understand, manage &improve your mental health and money issues.
Money Helper – Learn how to cut back on costs and see what extra help is available.
NHS’s Every Mind Matters – More tips for dealing with stress.
NHS Talking Therapies – You can refer yourself directly to a free NHS talking therapies service without a referral from a GP, or a GP can refer you. Help is available in person, by video, over the phone or as an online course.
Time to Change – Share personal stories about mental health problems.