Its Stress Awareness Week so use this opportunity to take stock of your wellbeing.
Have you been feeling over tired recently, yet not sure why? Sure it’s okay to have the odd late night, then pay for it for a couple of days afterwards, but constantly feeling excessively tired, after still going to bed and getting up at regular hours, can be a sign you are suffering from stress without even realising it.
Other signs of stress include feeling unusually irritable, having more headaches than normal, finding you are grinding your teeth, frequently suffering from an upset stomach or even chest pains.
In fact, there are a whole host of signs and symptoms that can slowly manifest over time which you probably don’t take any notice of at first, but recognising if we are stressed is an important part of maintaining our physiological health, as well as our psychological wellbeing.
This is why, after the success of Stress Awareness Day 2017, the International Stress Management Association (ISMA), have decided to dedicate a whole week to raising awareness around Stress and the impact of the condition, with events and activities taking place around the globe between the 5th – 9th November 2018.
Want to find out more? Read on….
What is Stress?
Stress is a condition where our bodies react to any situation we are dealing with at any given time. Our bodies produce adrenaline which gives us the ability to cope and can often be referred to as ‘fight or flight’ mode. This can affect us in a positive as well as a negative way, imagine an athlete before a big event and the physiological changes that occur, helping them to compete successfully.
The flip side for example could be a single parent trying to make breakfast, get ready, get the kids to school and get to work, all before 9am, having had less that adequate sleep because one of the children had been ill over night and needed comforting, the bedsheets needed changing… you get the picture?
Now when things like this happen and you are faced with an acute situation, in other words, a situation that arises but is over relatively quickly, our bodies can cope, thanks to the fight or flight mode, but when a situation becomes more chronic, i.e. goes on for any length of time, stress can start to take hold and have a very negative impact. But because we feel like we should be coping, we tend to push it to the back of our minds, sometimes, until it is too late.
The Long-Term Impact of Stress
According to the American Psychiatric Association, (APA), the long-term impact of stress is not only harmful to our mental health, it can have a particularly damaging impact on our physiological well-being, including causing harmful effects on our respiratory and cardiovascular systems. This can lead to disease such as hypertension, (high blood pressure), heart attack or stroke, which can ultimately have a devastating impact, or even prove fatal to some.
Furthermore, when we are stressed over a sustained period of time, we can develop anxiety disorders, depression and personality disorders, which can be particularly destructive. Stress can also lead to an increase in eating disorders, and alcohol/drug dependency, which are equally damaging to our health and wellbeing.
So as you can see, spotting the signs of stress early is vital to maintaining our homeostasis, in other words, our overall physical and mental wellbeing.
What You Can Do to Minimise Stress
Whilst there is no magic cure, and stress will always be a part of everyday life, there are ways of managing the triggers, and mitigating the effects. Here at Wellspace we offer a range of ideas and solutions to build in to your every day lives, and fully support a truly well-rounded approach to health and wellbeing.
Keeping yourself physically healthy by eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, cutting down on the alcohol intake and cigarettes will support a healthy immune system, meaning you are less likely to suffer from common viruses such as coughs or colds. In addition, having a regular exercise plan keeps your muscles and bones strong, and crucially, releases all those positive endorphins to help you cope with life’s difficulties as they arise.
The third way to stay healthy is be sociable! Join groups with a shared interest, chat to the parents in the playground, get involved with any events at work or with your friends.
Now we also appreciate that time pressures are always going to impact on stress levels, i.e. we never seem to have enough time to make all of those healthy lifestyle choices!
That’s why we have come up with our innovative and ground-breaking Wellness App to support and assist you with your achievements. This clever App is available to download and is suitable for businesses to roll out to their employees who want to maintain healthy lifestyles and reduce the impact of stress on the workforce.
There are loads of ideas on how to motivate, monitor and reward good health, and keep the dreaded stress at bay. We also offer regular health updates and features on Supporting Good Mental Health at Work.
So if you are concerned that stress is affecting your life, or you want to raise awareness at work, now is a great time to get involved! You can contact us here, or why not give us a call on 0808 178 0748 for more information. Our expert team will be delighted to chat to you about everything in this blog and give you some top tips on how to be stress aware.
We look forward to getting your call!