April is Stress Awareness Month 2022. Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992 to raise awareness of the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.
Stress isn’t a new phenomenon but is experienced by increasing numbers of people both in their personal and work lives.
After a particularly challenging couple of years, this year’s Stress Awareness Month theme is focused on community
The Covid-19 pandemic has massively impacted people’s sense of community and isolated people from their support networks, which has had a hugely detrimental impact on their wellbeing and mental health. This year’s Stress Awareness Month aims to highlight the importance of community and support in combating stress.
If you’re looking for ways to reduce stress and want to get involved, here are a few ideas for activities for Stress Awareness Month 2022.
Creativity uses a different part of the brain from where we experience stress, and engaging in creative activities can help us escape from stressors and prevent over-thinking.
For example, many people feel they aren’t creative because they can’t draw or paint. However, if art isn’t your forte, you can still be creative in many other ways.
For example, writing, singing, playing a musical instrument, baking, cooking and crafting are all ways to get creative and lower stress levels.
Getting outside and spending time in nature is great for mental health and an easy way to help relieve the symptoms of stress. Spending time in nature has been found to lower cortisol and adrenaline, which are two stress-related hormones, and it can even help reduce blood pressure.
You don’t need to go rambling in the countryside to benefit from nature (though you can if you want!) A simple walk around your local park on your lunch break will do the trick, and if you can take your dog or a friend along with you, that can help reduce stress even further.
Many of us don’t get enough sleep each night, and chronic sleep deprivation can be severe, impacting both mental and physical health and overall quality of life.
Sleep reduces cortisol levels and helps our minds and bodies repair and regenerate. A good night’s sleep also makes us better equipped to deal with potential stressors the following day and can improve mood, concentration and decision-making.
If you struggle to sleep, you can try Sleep Hygiene Techniques to improve your sleep.
Move Your Body
Not everyone enjoys exercise, but if hitting the gym isn’t your thing, there are a million other ways to move your body, feel good and enjoy yourself. Exercise shouldn’t be a punishment but a way to celebrate your body and what it can do! Whether that’s gentle chair exercises, a dip in your local swimming pool or a brisk walk, moving your body is a great way to relieve stress and improve wellbeing.
Taking up a new hobby or learning a new skill is beneficial for mental health and stress relief too, so why not incorporate both and try a new kind of exercise? For example, you could try yoga, a dance class or even Mixed Martial Arts!
Connect With Others
A sense of belonging and connection to those around us is crucial for life and wellbeing. Research shows that people who are more socially connected tend to be happier, healthier and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected.
On the other hand, social isolation and loneliness hurt mental health and stress levels and are associated with depression, anxiety, and sleep problems.
Forming and maintaining friendships and relationships, socialising with the people we love and volunteering in our local communities are all good ways to reduce stress. Even something as simple as a cup of tea and a chat with a friend can help!
Identify and Tackle Causes of Stress
There are many activities we can all do to help reduce our stress levels and help others around us. However, it’s essential and taking steps to lower our levels. We also identify and tackle the root causes of stress in our lives.
Whether we are stressed about finances, relationships, work or politics, once we know what is causing us so much stress, we can begin to explore ways to minimise exposure to that stressor.
Whether that involves getting financial advice, exploring relationship counselling, talking to an employer about workplace issues or limiting our time spent watching or reading the news, once we know what is causing stress, we’re better able to deal with it and improve our wellbeing.
Get In Touch
We hope this blog has given you some ideas about activities for Stress Awareness Month 2022.
At Wellspace, we offer accessible expert well-being support to employers and organisations with a workplace well-being app to help employees monitor and improve their wellbeing, alongside comprehensive health and wellbeing training.
For more information about how Wellspace can help you reduce stress levels in your organisation and prioritise employee wellbeing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you!