April is Stress Awareness Month, a time to focus on the importance of recognising and managing stress.
Stress is a normal part of life, but when it becomes chronic, it can lead to a range of negative health outcomes, including anxiety, depression, and physical illnesses. Stress is a pervasive problem in our society, and it can have a significant impact on individuals and organisations alike.
A few years ago, the 2021 Channel Islands Wellbeing Report highlighted the impact of stress locally. 63% claimed work as one of their primary causes of stress, anxiety and poor wellbeing.
At Black Vanilla, we understand the importance of our team’s wellbeing and mental health and are committed to cultivating an environment of open conversation and support.
As our certified Mental Health First Aider, my training has allowed me to be more actively aware of how our team reacts to stress and the importance of an individual’s ‘stress container’. Each person has a different-sized container, meaning we can all tolerate and deal with stress on different levels. Being aware of your and your colleague’s stress containers means you’re able to spot when a container is full and in need of a coping strategy.
Here are some key things to keep in mind during Stress Awareness Month:
- Recognise the signs of stress: stress can manifest in a variety of ways, including physical symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and muscle tension, as well as emotional symptoms like irritability, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed. You may need to consider environmental, hormonal and acute life events as well. We all have a life outside of work, don’t forget that.
- Take care of yourself: self-care is essential when it comes to managing stress. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular physical activity can all help to reduce stress levels.
- Practice relaxation techniques: there are many different relaxation techniques that can help to reduce stress, including deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you.
- Seek support: don’t be afraid to reach out for support when you’re feeling stressed. This could mean talking to a friend or family member, seeking help from a mental health professional, or joining a support group. In an office space, having a mental health first aider available is always helpful.
- Make lifestyle changes: managing stress sometimes requires making changes to your lifestyle. This could mean discussing reasonable adjustments to your work hours, setting better boundaries, or learning to say no when you need to.
The best and most common excuse for all of these is time. It’s a fair excuse sometimes. But be careful not to slip into denial, bad coping habits or worse, not doing anything about it. We can all support one another to make small changes in life to reduce the stress container.
Stress Awareness Month is a reminder that stress is a normal part of life, but it doesn’t have to control us. By recognising the signs of stress, taking steps to manage it and encouraging an open and supportive work environment, we can improve our health and well-being, and lead happier, more fulfilling lives.
Find a wealth of resources on MIND’s website here for more information.