We all experience some level of stress. Some of us experience it because of the demands of education or work and others might be stressed because of a difficult family life. But it’s important we acknowledge actors such as social discrimination, as well as physical and mental health conditions also come into play.
It’s also important to remember that stress is socially disproportionate, meaning healthcare workers, people of colour, and LGBTQ+ identifying people are more susceptible to periods of stress.
But with everyone experiencing stress differently and a seemingly endless online discourse surrounding self-care – it can be hard to find exactly what calms you.
Stress is slightly different to anxiety disorder symptoms, as it doesn’t tend to have a debilitating effect on the ability to do everyday tasks. If you feel that you are experiencing long-term anxiety symptoms, such as negative or worrying thoughts, which are significantly impacting your everyday life, this may indicate a mental health condition.
Anxiety and panic disorders are very common and are nothing to be ashamed of – but they can be extremely difficult to deal with. These stress-combating tips may help to alleviate the symptoms of these conditions, but it’s important to ask for support available from healthcare professionals, such as your GP.
Over 8 million people in the UK experience an anxiety disorder at any given time, while 74% of people have reported feeling stressed to the point of feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope. As someone who has dealt with anxiety from a young age, I have benefitted from the support of several different mental health resource facilities.
Psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, support groups, helplines, medications – I’ve done it all. I’ve learnt a lot about myself, about mental health, and how to deal with my emotions. While coping strategies are by no means a one-size-fits-all situation, I want to share the best de-stressing methods I’ve learnt along the way.
Know When To Switch Off
While capitalist society wants us to believe that we’re small fish in a big pond, it’s important to remember we are humans – our feelings matter and so do our physical and emotional needs.
The rise of girl boss culture convinced me that I needed to be constantly grinding, or else I’d fall behind in this endless race for success – after all, I’m 21, shouldn’t I have it all figured out by now? Eventually, I realised that I was chasing something that I didn’t choose for myself – something I’m not even sure exists.
I thought everyone around me knew exactly where they wanted to be, and were taking big, momentous leaps towards that end goal. Meanwhile, I felt directionless, splitting myself between several projects to cover all bases for my future.
I can’t tell you how liberating it felt to prioritise the “me” in the present. I am getting much better at knowing exactly what my mind and body need and knowing exactly when it’s time to put the laptop away.
It can be a tricky balance to maintain at first but maybe start by giving yourself a daily curfew. For example, I tell myself that I will work on university assignments until 5pm, and then I will do something I enjoy. I promise nothing is going to fall apart if you give yourself the evening off.
There is nothing more stressful than feeling as if the hours of the day are running away from you. To counteract this, I split the tasks of the day into varying levels, divided by the concentration it required to complete them.
I’d start my day with something low-effort (such as planning my day) and save the most energy-demanding tasks for the middle of the day when my brain feels most awake. Then I’d finish off with something simple. This pattern is certainly not right for everyone, but with some trial and error, you can find a format that works well for you. Be sure to allocate some time for hobbies too!
Cut Back On Caffeine
As a part-time barista, it feels almost illegal to say, but caffeine will make anxiety and stress symptoms skyrocket. Often, when confronted with the physical symptoms of stress- for example, a racing heart and difficulty breathing – we find ourselves in an endless cycle where we find ourselves stressed about being stressed.
Caffeine only makes this cycle even deadlier. You can still romanticize your life by studying in your local coffee shop – but maybe just switch over to decaf.
Sounds self-explanatory. We all do it – 22,000 times a day in fact. However, many people are unaware of how to harness the power of this subconscious process.
Investing a bit more time into breathing techniques can be incredibly self-soothing. There are many routines to try. My favourite is “square breathing”. This is where you inhale, hold your breath and exhale for four seconds each, all the while imagining a square in your mind, following each side as you go. It can be an effective way of grounding yourself during high-stress situations, but I find it especially helpful when experiencing night-time anxiety.
Make Yourself A Playlist
As an aspiring music journalist, music is a huge part of my day-to-day life and, unsurprisingly, it is scientifically proven to have a significant impact on your general mood!
While up-tempo music is best to give you a boost of optimism, something a bit slower is ideal for when you need a dose of serenity. The act of crafting a playlist can be calming in itself.
If music isn’t your thing, podcasts are a great alternative. Every day, I look forward to my walk to uni, where I get to listen to a podcast episode and spend a bit of time in nature. My current favourite is Office Ladies, in which actors from The Office US give behind-the-scenes stories for each episode.
There seems to be an overwhelming sense that to feel true happiness we must love ourselves in our entirety. While an idyllic concept, it’s not always possible – something I’ve learned the hard way. What we can realistically do, is accept ourselves and let go of that which we cannot control.
Isn’t it strange that we never hold other people to the same standards we hold ourselves to? I try to think of myself as my own friend. On days when I struggle to love myself, I remember I still need to be kind to myself.
Identifying Negative Thoughts
A lot of my anxiety comes from a fear of losing control, so learning to relinquish my grip was a huge learning curve for me. Our thoughts can often seem to take on a life of their own, but we do have the power to shape the way we think.
Try to identify negative thoughts as they arise. I imagine these thoughts as a dark cloud, and as I let them go, I picture them slowly drifting away across the sky, and unblocking the sun as they go. This is just one way of managing thought patterns, but there are plenty of resources available for combating cognitive distortions. It takes a lot of practice, so don’t feel disheartened if negative thoughts keep returning – try to stick with it!
Build A Support Network
Sadly, not everyone has an extensive, in-person, support system and many people can’t afford therapy. However, there are so many free, online support systems to connect you with people who are experiencing similar feelings to you. You don’t need to have a diagnosed mental health condition to access these materials.
If you’re suffering from stress in any capacity, you are worthy and deserving of an emotional outlet. Mind has an online peer support community, where members share their experiences, advice, and tips for better, mental well-being. The NHS website is always the best place to start in terms of finding the resources available to you.
You’re Not Alone
Although April is Stress Awareness Month, it’s important to keep the conversation about mental health going all year round. When in the midst of a particularly stressful period, it can be challenging to see through the fog. Just try to remember that on the other side is a community of people who understand exactly what you’re going through.
If you or a loved one are seeking help for symptoms of stress or symptoms of anxiety
- Contact your local GP
- Mind’s online support community Side by Side
Featured image courtesy of nikko macaspac on Unsplash. Image license can be found here. No changes were made to this image.
Third-Year studying BA English at the University of Nottingham. Passionate about social justice journalism!! Also writing for two university magazines as well as Nottingham’s culture magazine, LeftLion ˚₊· ͟͟͞͞➳❥
What is the theme of the stress awareness month 2023? ›
Look after yourself – we all need to think more about self–care. Take time out of your day to relax or do something that you enjoy.How can we promote stress awareness month? ›
- Prioritize Your Health. ...
- Speak Out About Stress. ...
- Work Towards a Work/Life Balance. ...
- Stay As Organized As Possible. ...
- Build A Culture Centered On Employee Well-being. ...
- Create Digital Channels Where Employees Can Share Their “Stress Stories” ...
- Keep Track.
Promote stress awareness and more by modifying this Pink Stress Awareness Month Instagram Post Template!What to do for stress awareness day? ›
- Do something creative. When we're doing something creative we're using a different part of the brain to where stress is occurring. ...
- Get outside. ...
- Move your body. ...
- Meditation and mindfulness. ...
- Write it down. ...
- Do something you enjoy. ...
- Talk to someone. ...
- Listen to music.
The official theme for 2023's Mental Health Awareness Week is anxiety. For Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, we will look at how anxiety can affect people living with severe mental illness, what external factors can trigger this strong response, and what we can do to support our peers. Everyone can feel anxious.What is the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2023? ›
Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from Monday 15 – Sunday 21 May 2023. The official theme for this year, as set by the Mental Health Foundation, is 'anxiety'. Our 'Just' Anxiety?What is the purpose of stress awareness Month? ›
April is recognized as National Stress Awareness Month to bring attention to the negative impact of stress. Managing stress is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Knowing how to manage stress can improve mental and physical well-being as well as minimize exacerbation of health-related issues.What is the purpose of stress awareness? ›
U.S. Stress can be debilitating, and it can cause and/or aggravate health problems. And since stress is a normal part of human existence — nobody is immune to it — it's important to arm ourselves with knowledge so that we recognize when stress rears its ugly head.Why is it important to manage stress? ›
Preventing and managing long-term stress can lower your risk for other conditions — like heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and depression. You can prevent or reduce stress by: Planning ahead. Deciding which tasks to do first.How to relieve stress and anxiety? ›
- Be active—Take a dance break! ...
- Close your eyes, take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Write three things you are grateful for.
- Check in with yourself—take time to ask yourself how you are feeling.
What color is best for anxiety? ›
Green – Quiet and restful, green is a soothing color that can invite harmony and diffuse anxiety. Blue – A highly peaceful color, blue can be especially helpful for stress management because it can encourage a powerful sense of calm. Purple – In many cultures, shades of violet represent strength, wisdom and peace.What color symbolizes anxiety? ›
The study found that people with or anxiety were more likely to associate their mood with the color gray, while preferred yellow.What are 5 facts about stress? ›
- Stress is a hormonal response from the body. ...
- Women appear more prone to stress than men. ...
- Stress can overburden your mind with incessant worries. ...
- You may feel jittery from stress. ...
- Stress can make you feel hot. ...
- Being stressed can make you sweat.
Don't have much or any control over the outcome of a situation. Have responsibilities that you find overwhelming. Don't have enough work, activities or change in your life. Experience discrimination, hate or abuse.How does stress affect the body? ›
If you're constantly under stress, you can have physical symptoms, such as headaches, an upset stomach, high blood pressure, chest pain, and problems with sex and sleep. Stress can also lead to emotional problems, depression, panic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry.How can I improve my mental health in 2023? ›
- Take action to improve your self-esteem. Photo by Amanda Jones on Unsplash. ...
- Do not compare yourself to others. ...
- Live in the present moment. ...
- Exercise regularly. ...
- Take time for self-care. ...
- Start a psychotherapeutic process.
Depression symptoms can impact performance in school and interfere with personal relationships. Most Americans lack access to adequate mental health treatment. 54.7% of American adults with mental illness did not receive care in the last year. Mental illnesses can affect people of any age, race, religion, or income.What's trending in mental health right now? ›
Mental health trends continue to reflect the mental stress and economic hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to across-the-board lifestyle changes, mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and related behavioral health issues like substance abuse are all on the rise.How do you promote mental health awareness? ›
- Talk About Mental Health Issues Openly. ...
- Educate Yourself and Others on the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illnesses. ...
- Practice Kindness and Compassion. ...
- Take and Share a Free Mental Health Screening. ...
- Participate or Volunteer in Awareness Events.
mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder) anxiety disorders. personality disorders. psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia)
Why is it important to raise awareness about mental health? ›
Raising awareness reduces the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and seeking treatment. Without treatment, mental health disorders can reach a crisis point. As the World Health Organization states, “there is no health without mental health.”How do you honor Mental Health Awareness Month? ›
Attend an event in support of Mental Health Awareness Month.
A great way to spread awareness about mental health is by engaging in events in your community or online to learn more and connect with others who are willing to share their experiences with mental health conditions.
The 4Ds of Dealing With Distress – Distract, Dilute, Develop, and Discover: An Ultra-Brief Intervention for Occupational and Academic Stress.What is the conclusion of stress awareness? ›
Conclusion: Stress is an inevitable part of life and can even be helpful at times, but when stress becomes too much, we can learn to be aware and work to reduce it.What are the 5 A's of stress management? ›
For adults, Maness suggests the “5 A's” in order to deal with stress and anxiety. The A's stand for Avoid, Alter, Accept, Adapt, and Assert. “Avoid alcohol and drugs,” suggests Maness, “Alter your schedule so you have time to eat healthy, exercise, relax and sleep.What are 3 benefits of stress? ›
- Stress Improves Brain Performance. ...
- It Helps Protect You From Getting Sick. ...
- You Become More Resilient. ...
- Stress Improves Your Memory. ...
- Stress Helps You Focus and Improves Learning. ...
- Stress During Pregnancy Can Make Your Kids Smarter.
- Use guided meditation. ...
- Practice deep breathing. ...
- Maintain physical exercise and good nutrition. ...
- Manage social media time. ...
- Connect with others.
Norepinephrine, a hormone and neurotransmitter, is released into your blood, improving your focus, attention and mood. It's also the primary driver behind the anti-inflammatory effects of cold water therapy, and the benefits it can have for people with chronic stress, anxiety and depression.What colors to avoid with anxiety? ›
Stay away from bright, bold, and intense colors. Colors like red and orange increase anxiety and stress, sometimes even fear. Red and orange are associated with an emergency that can elicit images of emergency vehicles with their lights and sirens on.What color room is best to sleep in? ›
The best colors for sleep are blue, yellow, green, silver, orange, pink, and white. These colors reduce stress and soothe the nervous system. Try to stick with neutral or pastel shades for a soft, welcoming atmosphere.
What is the most stressful color? ›
According to color psychologists, the most stressful and anxiety-inducing color is 'red'. Red room ideas can be too intense for some people – could your red decor be one of the reasons why your friends hate your house? It reminds us of danger and is a color that makes you angry.What color helps depression? ›
Red. A very powerful color, red can easily raise energy levels and stimulate moods. Because of its power, it can help combat depression by creating positive thoughts and feelings.What things symbolizes anxiety? ›
- Like a knife stabbing you in the chest with each breath you take. ...
- Like a rain cloud of negative speak following your every move. ...
- Like an impostor hijacked your normal self. ...
- Like an explosion in your brain, sending your thoughts spiraling out of control.
Chronic illness or injury. Emotional problems (depression, anxiety, anger, grief, guilt, low self-esteem) Taking care of an elderly or sick family member. Traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, theft, rape, or violence against you or a loved one.What are 2 important facts about stress? ›
With chronic stress, those same lifesaving reactions in the body can disturb the immune, digestive, cardiovascular, sleep, and reproductive systems. Some people may experience mainly digestive symptoms, while others may have headaches, sleeplessness, sadness, anger, or irritability.What is the theme of National stress awareness day? ›
U.S. National Stress Awareness Day, on every first Wednesday in November — November 1 this year — is 24 hours of reinforcing the fact that you're not doing yourself a favor by stressing about situations you can't control.What awareness is March 2023? ›
|National Sleep Awareness Week||March 12-18|
|National Poison Prevention Week||March 19-25|
|Brain Awareness Week||March 13-19|
|National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week||March 20-26|
U.S. Stress can be debilitating, and it can cause and/or aggravate health problems. And since stress is a normal part of human existence — nobody is immune to it — it's important to arm ourselves with knowledge so that we recognize when stress rears its ugly head.What is january monthly awareness 2023? ›
The main days and months you should know about for January are:
|National Blood Donor Month||January 1|
|Poverty Awareness Month||January 1|
|Dolly Parton's Birthday||January 19|
|International Holocaust Remembrance Day||January 27|
|Martin Luther King Jr. Day||3rd Monday of January|
Mental Health Awareness Month (May, 2023)
What happens on March 23 2023? ›
National days on Thu Mar 23rd, 2023. Explore worldwide events, festivals, funny, weird, and national days on this day! It's National Puppy Day, World Meteorological Day, National Near Miss Day, National Chia Day, National Chip and Dip Day… and much more!What national day is march 23 2023? ›
MARCH 23, 2023 | NATIONAL PUPPY DAY | NATIONAL CHIP AND DIP DAY | NATIONAL NEAR MISS DAY | NATIONAL TAMALE DAY | NATIONAL CHIA DAY | NATIONAL MELBA TOAST DAY.What awareness month is july 2023? ›
Black Leaders Awareness Day 2023.What awareness month is June 2023? ›
Children's Awareness Month has become a time to spend nurturing and cultivating the joys and treasures of childhood. This month aims to encourage, support, and educate children while prioritizing their health and well-being.What is the meaning of stress awareness? ›
What is stress awareness? Stress awareness doesn't mean that we should wallow in stress and feel bad. It means we should be aware of the health consequences of stress so we can make good choices for ourselves and our families.What is february month awareness 2023? ›
February is American Heart Month, a time when all people can focus on their cardiovascular health.What awareness month is August 2023? ›
|MedicAlert Awareness Month||Worldwide|
|National Immunization Awareness Month||United States|
|Psoriasis Awareness Month||Worldwide|
|Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month||United States|
National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is observed each July to bring awareness to the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities face regarding mental illness in the United States.