Stress Awareness Month 2023: What is Stress and How Can We Tackle it?

Stress Awareness Month 2023 is an annual event that takes place every year in April. The purpose of this observation is to encourage individuals to manage their stress and educate employers and employees on the importance of reducing stress in the workplace. During this significant month, various organisations, health professionals, and individuals come together to promote stress management techniques, offer information, resources, and activities to help people, recognise and understand the importance of taking care of one’s mental and physical health.

What is Stress?

Stress is a state of physical, mental, or emotional strain caused by adverse circumstances, demanding situations, or significant life changes. Sometimes, stress can be beneficial for us, motivation and focus can grow when feeling a little under pressure. However, if it is chronic or ongoing, it can undermine a person’s mental and physical health and become harmful. According to The Mental Health Foundation 74% of people feel so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope.

When experiencing high levels of pressure our bodies release hormones such as cortisol, which can affect brain function and emotional wellbeing. The long-term activation of the stress response system and the overall exposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that come with it can disrupt almost all of your body’s processes. This can put you at increased risk of a variety of physical and mental health problems, including anxiety depression, digestive issues, headaches, heart disease, and other significant conditions. The Mental Health Foundation found that 51% of adults who felt stressed reported feeling depressed and 61% reported feeling anxious.

How Can We Tackle Stress in the Workplace?

The most common cause of stress is work-related stress with 79% saying they frequently felt it (Statistica). Stress can place immense demands on employees’ physical and mental health and can affect their behaviour, performance, and relationships with colleagues. A certain amount of pressure at work can help to motivate you. But if the pressure and demands become too much, this can lead to work-related stress. Stress in the workplace can occur when an individual feels overwhelmed by the responsibilities of their job, this can lead to physical and mental health problems, decreased job satisfaction, and decreased productivity. Through recognising signs of work-related stress and dealing with it quickly and efficiently can mean it can have less of a negative impact on you.

Learning how to manage stress in the workplace can help you identify your stress triggers; it also ensures you have the right tools to protect your mental and physical well-being – even whilst being under pressure. Sometimes, the best way to manage stress in the workplace involves changing your situation. At other times, the best strategy involves changing the way you respond to a situation. Occasionally, it may be necessary to shift your focus from productive to attentive, this change in attitude may require you to take breaks from work and approach your responsibilities with a new sense of commitment and engagement.

Most importantly, managers can take steps to ensuring the workplace is a positive, inclusive, and supportive environment when dealing with employee’s mental health and wellbeing. They can do this through giving access to employee assistant programmes, creating flexible working options and improved work-life balance, staff surveys or risk assessments whilst also providing mental health tools and support throughout the workforce. Employees can also manage their stress levels at work by setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and seeking support from management and colleagues.

Many who suffer from mental ill health and workplace stress say the stigma, shame, and silence can be as bad, if not worse than, the symptoms itself. A YouGov survey found less than half of employees say they would be able to talk openly with their line manager if they were suffering from stress. With 1 in 6 in the workplace suffering from a common mental health condition in any given week, Stress Awareness Month 2023 inspires individuals to take action and open conversations around stress in the hope to bust the stigma that prevents so many from getting help.

How Can Wellity Support You With Stress Awareness Month 2023?

It’s important for employees to recognise the impact of stress in the workplace and take steps to create a supportive environment that promotes well-being. By prioritising well-being and creating a culture of support, organisations can help reduce stress levels and overall health and performance.

At Wellity we offer a range of employee and manager training topics on hand to support your organisations and teams. With Stress Awareness Month 2023 fast approaching, our training session ‘Distress to De-Stress’, explores the fundamentals of stress awareness, enabling delegates to better recognise their stress triggers and warning signs, and learn to use coping strategies to proactively tackle stress to prevent physical and mental ill-health.

Objectives:

  • Exploring stress, and why zebras don’t get ulcers
  • Learning the other types of stress responses
  • Exploring the dynamic of pressure and performance
  • Recognising triggers and tells
  • Implementing the 4Rs

For more information on other training topics we offer, contact our Wellity Team on hello@wellityglobal.com

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