International Stress Awareness Week

International Stress Awareness Week

Stephanie Stewart

This week marks International Stress Awareness Week 2021, which was started to raise awareness of stress prevention. Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. Many different situations or life events can cause stress. It is often triggered when we experience something new, unexpected or that threatens our sense of self, or when we feel we have little control over a situation.

We all deal with stress differently. When we encounter stress, our body produces stress hormones that trigger a fight or flight response and activate our immune system. This helps us respond quickly to dangerous situations.

Sometimes, this stress response can be useful: it can help us push through fear or pain so we can run a marathon or deliver a speech. Our stress hormones will usually go back to normal quickly once the stressful event is over, and there won’t be any lasting effects.

However, too much stress can cause negative effects. It can leave us in a permanent stage of fight or flight, leaving us overwhelmed or unable to cope. Long term, this can affect our physical and mental health.

Many things can lead to stress: bereavement, divorce or separation, losing a job or unexpected money problems. Work-related stress can also have a negative impact on your mental health. People affected by work-related stress lose an average of 24 days of work due to ill health. Work-related stress is how you feel when you have demands at work that exceed how much you feel you can cope with. Over 11 million working days are lost each year because of work-related stress.

Work is good for us as it gives life structure and most people get satisfaction from it. A certain amount of pressure at work is a good thing as it can help you perform better and prepare you for challenges. But if the pressure and demands become too much, they can lead to work-related stress.

Work-related stress can be caused by lots of things.

These include:

  • An excessive workload or unrealistic deadlines

  • Regularly being under pressure to meet targets or deadlines

  • Difficult relationships with colleagues

  • Management style

  • A lack of control over the way you do your job

  • Being unclear about your job role and what you’re meant to do

  • Being in the wrong job for your skills, abilities and expectations

If you are suffering from stress you may feel anxious, afraid, angry or aggressive, sad, irritable, frustrated or depressed. You may also behave differently if you’re stressed. You may:

  • Withdraw from other people or snap at them

  • Be indecisive or inflexible

  • Be tearful

  • Have problems getting to sleep or staying asleep

  • Smoke or drink alcohol more than usual.

Stress can have a significant impact on your personal and work life, affecting your overall wellbeing and productivity. Nine Twenty recognise the importance of the topic and are supporting #InternationalStressAwarenessWeek

Nine Twenty have created a list of key tips to help manage stress in your life:

  • Identify what triggers stress in your life.

  • Think about where you can make changes

  • Stay organised.

  • Set and stick to a routine.

  • Have realistic expectations.

  • Stay connected.

  • Set boundaries.

  • Allow others to help you.

  • Exercise

  • Eat well

  • Take time out and rest and relax

  • Be kind to yourself

Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response to what happens. Make wise decisions.


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