This store requires javascript to be enabled for some features to work correctly.

Stress Awareness Month: What You Need to Know

Stress Awareness Month: What You Need to Know

We’re a few weeks into April now, which means we’re in the midst of Stress Awareness Month in the UK. It’s an awareness campaign that is held every April and has been since 1992. The aim is to increase awareness about causes and remedies for the impact stress has on the general public.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, almost three quarters of adults in the UK have felt unable to manage their stress at some point in their life. This is why, in today’s fast-paced culture, it’s so crucial to be aware of the causes and cures of stress, as well as what the signs of it look like and its impact on overall health. This article covers all of those points, plus a general overview of stress and ways to raise awareness. 


What is stress?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), stress is “a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation.” It can come in many forms, such as acute stress, which is short-lived, often intense periods. There is also a sub-type of acute stress, known as episodic acute stress. This is when periods of acute stress occur frequently. Finally, there is chronic stress, which is consistent, long-term stress from ongoing situations or circumstances. We all experience stress of some kind in our lives, with the events and circumstances around us shaping which types we feel and when. 

Stress can cause a myriad of physiological and psychological bodily responses and symptoms, such as weight management issues, trouble sleeping, headaches, fatigue, irritability, high blood pressure, tense muscles, feelings of overwhelm, digestive upset, dilated pupils, and an increased heart rate, among various others. These effects can then impact overall wellbeing and quality of life in a number of ways. 


Common causes of stress

There are a wide range of causes of stress, as each situation impacts people differently. Some of the most common stressors include work-related pressure or problems, health concerns, financial instability, loss of a loved one, traumatic events, and issues in interpersonal relationships, including family, friends, colleagues, and partners. There are both internal and external factors that contribute to stress. External factors include our environment, stressful events, or significant changes in life circumstances. Internal factors include our thoughts, beliefs, and overall mindset. 


Impact of stress on health

As you can imagine based on the symptoms listed above, stress can have a negative impact on health and wellbeing. Ironically, health issues are a major cause of stress as well, meaning it is sometimes a self-fulfilling cycle. Stress can cause problems for both physical and mental health. For example, stress can increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, and reduced immune function, to name a few.

It can also have an enormous impact on or even cause mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. All of this takes a massive toll on the body and mind, leading to issues in other areas of life. These may include relationship troubles, decreased work performance, inability to participate in social activities, and a reduction in overall quality of life. 


Recognising the signs of stress

In order to stop stress from spiralling out of control, it’s important to be able to recognise the signs. The more you experience stress, the more you will recognise which symptoms you exhibit, allowing you to swiftly address them. For example, while some people may find that digestive upset and fatigue are their main signs, yours may be an increased heartbeat and trouble sleeping.

Being able to recognise signs of stress in yourself and the people you care about is the first step in addressing and overcoming them. You can then work on finding ways to manage and cope with both the root causes and the symptoms you experience so they don’t become so overwhelming.


Managing stress

Thankfully, there are a number of different ways to manage stress in a healthy and productive way. For example, relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and meditation practices are tried and true ways to cope with stressful situations. Regular exercise and improvements in time management also tend to ease the impacts of stress. 

For successful stress management, it’s also important to make time for self-care practices, like getting enough high-quality sleep, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, taking supplements that may help like magnesium or CBD, and nurturing social connections. There’s no shame in reaching out to friends, family, or mental/physical healthcare professionals when needed. In fact, it takes strength to recognise you need help, and even more strength to reach out and ask for it. 


Raising stress awareness

As it’s Stress Awareness Month, we want to take a moment to talk about raising awareness. We all know stress exists, but many people are unaware of the detrimental impact it can have on all areas of life. Sharing personal stories and experiences and offering support to others going through periods of stress are great ways to get involved on a personal level. You can also share useful information online and in your community, organise or attend stress management workshops, or donate to stress relief initiatives. Even the simple act of practising self-care to help mitigate the effects of stress in your own life is a valuable way to get involved. 



Key takeaways

  • Stress is something that impacts everyone at some point, whether it’s acute, episodic, or chronic. 
  • It can cause a wide range of physical and mental symptoms, like high blood pressure, headaches, and trouble sleeping. 
  • There are many common causes of stress, including work issues, relationship problems, and health concerns.
  • Stress can have a detrimental impact on both physical and mental health. 
  • Recognising the signs of stress in yourself and your loved ones is the first step in addressing it.
  • Luckily, there are lots of ways to manage stress, such as relaxation techniques, self-care practices, and reaching out for help.
  • Raising awareness of the real impacts of stress is a key part of Stress Awareness Month, and can be accomplished by sharing info, offering support, practising self-care, and more.