VOS: National Stress Awareness Day

National Stress Awareness Day

Emotional wellbeing

November 2021

National Stress Awareness Day

Rapid heartbeat, anxiety, fear, belly ache, sleep troubles...These are some of many examples of what we feel and experience when we’re stressed. I dare say everyone gets into a stressful situation once in a while and it’s hard to avoid every single stressor in our life. However, we could learn how to respond to these situations and how to deal with stress in our life. This Wednesday we celebrate National stress awareness day and I think it’s a great occasion to think about the way we manage to get through difficult moments and learn a bit more about how to handle them better.

Identifying stress

There are moments when you’re perfectly aware of what’s going on with your body, with your mind. You can also see that your reaction is quite natural. For example, you probably will be able to say you’re stressed when you’ll have 10 minutes before your exam/ presentation at work…

However, as you can read in Elizabeth Scott’s article, being stressed is not so obvious sometimes. There are moments where you might just feel really tense or uncomfortable but there is no clear cause. Identifying the stressor might not be so easy as it may sound. You can be affected by stress for quite some time without even realizing it. Stress can manifest itself in various ways. It’s important to listen to your body to focus on what’s really going on with you when you’re not feeling well. How to do that?

Check your body signals!

Do you feel your heart is beating faster? Did you gain/lose weight lately? Do you have trouble falling asleep or sleeping at all? Or are you sleeping way too much? Have you been sick more often in the past months than before? Did you notice some changes in your menstrual cycle or in your libido? If you’re answering ‘yes’ to those questions, you might be dealing with stress and you should consider it a possible cause of your troubles. However keep in mind, it’s always important to talk to a doctor and check your physical health.

Be in touch with your feelings!

Did you notice you’re getting easily irritated lately? Do you feel frustrated? Are you angry? Do you feel tension and pressure? Would you say you’re moodier? Do you feel worried? All these emotional signs could tell you that there is a possibility you’re stressed.

Notice your behaviour!

Do you have time to do the things you enjoy? Do you relax? Do you manage to take care of yourself well? If you have to answer these questions with ‘no’ you should be thinking about the reason why. Stress could take you away from your hobbies and relax.

Find what might be the source of your stress

Ask yourself: ‘What is happening right now? How do I deal with that? How do I feel? What do I need right now?’ By leading a dialogue with yourself and or by journaling you can stay aware of your emotions and address your own needs better.

Be cautious in difficult situations

Keep in mind you can actually prepare yourself for difficult situations and eliminate the stress as much as possible. Do you know there’s a super hard day ahead of you and that it will be stressful? Try to think ahead.

Make a plan for your day or hard task

If it’s possible make sure you will have enough time to do everything necessary and try to find some breaks in between. Stay hydrated, try to eat, and have a few minutes to relax. Listen to your favorite song or motivational playlist, go out and get some fresh air, call your loved ones and get their support, meditate, do breathing exercises or whatever will help you relax and stay calm. I know, when you’ll have a super hard busy day you might be in a rush and you'll have no time for this. But keep in mind that even 5 minutes could mean a difference and help you get calmer and focused. Reward yourself. Plan ahead and promise yourself you will do something nice when the task/ workday/situation will be over.

Be kind to yourself

Learn to be proud of your success. Celebrate! That doesn’t necessarily mean you should go out and party. You can just have a nice meal and then watch your favorite TV show. Just do whatever you like and enjoy it. It’s really important for your confidence to appreciate what you accomplished! Also, be patient, understanding, and forgiving when you make mistakes. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend. Give yourself the pep talk, take some time to shake it off, and to process everything that happened. Being kind to yourself in tough times could really help you manage it better.

Get the info!

There are many mental health tools and tips which could help you cope with stress. You can find much useful evidence-based information on websites like healthline.com or verywellmind.com. There are also other articles about managing stress and anxiety on the VOS blog. Read about techniques and tools and then try to find what fits you.

Ask for help

Did you try to manage stress on your own but nothing seems to be really working? Do you have some troubles and could you use some advice?  Do you want to get a professional opinion and personalized recommendation? Don’t hesitate to seek a mental health professional and ask for help! Dealing with stress could be really and dealing with your problems is nothing to be ashamed of. \n

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