It's National Stress Awareness Day today, and #NationalStressAwarenessDay is trending on social media.
Stress is a huge issue in the UK. Government figures showed that almost half a million people suffered workplace-related stress, depression or anxiety last year.
Figures from the TUC show someone falling ill from stress in Britain every two minutes. They’ve published this guide in a bid to promote stress management best practice.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “People don’t get ill from stress because they are weak, but because employers aren’t doing enough to remove or control the causes of the stress.”
The International Stress Management Association are the organisation behind National Stress Awareness Day, spokesperson Chris Clarke said: “National Stress Awareness Day is a day for recognising the insidious effect of stress on every aspect of our lives. Whether in the workplace or in our personal lives, stress reduces our effectiveness, our ability to respond and react and undermines our self-belief and confidence. This results in lower performance, loss of resilience and reduced sense of wellbeing and confidence. Recognising how stress affects each one of us personally has a major benefit in improving our health and effectiveness”
If you’re feeling strung out, try to take control with some of these tips to combat stress:
1) Deep breathing: Breathe in and out slowly in a regular rhythm - in through your nose and out through your mouth, counting from one to five. Do this for 3 - 5 minutes 2 or 3 times a day or whenever you’re stressed.
2) Muscle relaxation: Spend 20 minutes sitting or lying down quietly. While breathing deeply as above, tense your muscles for a count of five before letting them go floppy, so you can feel the difference - start with the forehead, then the face, then down through the neck and shoulders, and so on through arms and hands, stomach and legs all the way to the feet.
3) Exercise: Physical activity produces endorphins - the chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers - and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Aim for 150 minutes of exercise per week - a brisk walk or swimming, anything that raises the heart rate.
4) Have a laugh: Research from the Mayo Clinic shows that laughter can boost our oxygen intake, stimulate the heart, lungs and muscles and release endorphins.
For more information about stress and anxiety, visit www.nhs.uk