Everyone faces stress one way or the other. It can be in the workplace, trying to meet deadlines and having a pile of work to do, or it could filter in from our relationships. How each individual copes and deals with stress differs.
Even as Stress Awareness Month is upon us, it’s essential to help those who may be struggling with stressful situations and point them to help if need be. So, what is the purpose of Stress Awareness Month?
History of Stress Awareness Month
In 1974, experts decided to form an organization dedicated to workplace and personal stress management. In 1981, it was rebranded as International Stress and Tension Control Society. Finally, in 1989, they became known as the International Stress Management Association.
Stress Awareness Month started officially in 1992 and is held every April. It’s a movement that targets increasing awareness of the causes of stress and how human beings can deal with it in their day-to-day life.
Why is the Stress Awareness Month Important?
The National Institute for Mental Health says that stress can motivate people to perform and that it might even be lifesaving in some situations. So, stress can be a motivating factor, and it indicates that work needs to be done, but if left unchecked, stress can lead to chronic illnesses like hypertension, ulcer, stroke, diabetes, etc.
According to the American Institute of Stress, stress is a physical, mental, or emotional strain. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association discovered that the most significant sources of stress are money, economic outlook, political climate, work, violence, and crime. Further research by this group showed that Gen Zs had higher stress loads when compared to other age groups.
It shows that nobody is exempted from stress. From the elderly to the youths and teenagers, stress is prevalent, and it comes with its danger. When a person is subjected to highly stressed conditions, this is what happens in the body- stress hormones are released into your bloodstream leading to an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels.
Stress Awareness Month is important because it is an avenue to educate people on stress management. It’s an avenue to remind people to pay close attention to their health. Through the widespread campaign, people are informed of the dangers of stress and coping strategies in stressed conditions. It has been observed that two-thirds of Americans engage in behaviors like drinking or crying to deal with stress. The awareness month is also an avenue to debunk misconceptions about stress in society.
How to Observe Stress Awareness Month
There are a lot of resources online to help those struggling with stress and its related issues. Stress Awareness Month is that time of the year for people to pay more attention to stress, know its causes and do more about preventing stress. Here are a few ways to support and get involved in stress awareness month.
1. Become aware of stress and stressors
This is the primary reason behind the movement, to create awareness of stress and make people focus on their physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. When people know their stressors, they can watch out for them and be more intentional about living a stress-filled life. This may mean saying “No” to more work that will strip you of your peace and establish boundaries. With information, you can also share learned information with friends and families.
2. Participate in the 30-days stress awareness challenge
A 30-day awareness challenge encourages people to be deliberate about staying away from stress. One way to do that is to do an activity/action each day that will benefit your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. The month is an avenue for people to look inwards and stay away from stressors. An acceptable way to get others to participate is by making the hashtag #stressawrenessmonth trend on social media platforms and sharing tips for dealing with stress.
To participate in a challenge, we’ve provided a 30-day guide from the Stress Management Society you can download it here
3. Be deliberate about practicing stress reduction techniques
Stress can be averted by following any or all of the following practices:
- Reduce caffeine intake: many professionals, students, stay-at-home moms, and workers binge on caffeine to stay alert and be productive. Caffeine is a stimulant that boosts adrenaline levels, so consuming too much caffeine can cause difficulty sleeping, jitters, and shakiness. These increase stress levels and cause anxiety.
- Exercise frequently: studies have shown that exercise improves sleep and increases endorphins and happy hormones. Workouts in the gym or a jog in the park help with fitness and fosters relaxation. Even a 15-minute HITT workout will do so much for your health. Don’t stress over exercising any longer if you are just starting to make this a habit.
- Reduce stress triggers: Knowing what triggers stress makes it easier to avoid stressful situations. Reduce these stressors or stress triggers with life skills like time management, setting boundaries, breathing exercises, etc.
- Breathing exercises/meditation: In cases where you may feel overwhelmed with stressful situations, consider taking time off to meditate. Practice holding your breath and slowly releasing to ease up and relax.
4. Help others struggling with stress.
Beyond helping yourself, consider helping others around you. We each deal with stress differently, so use different approaches and study signs of stress so you are better prepared to be there for a friend or family member. Sometimes just being there to listen to someone is the best way to offer your support. If you feel someone’s stress is affecting their health, maybe you encourage them to see the help of a professional.
Even as April is upon us, endeavor to join the 30-day stress awareness challenge and spread awareness about stress to others. Know that stress on its own may not be deadly, but poor stress management may lead to severe conditions.
We’d love to hear how you are raising awareness for stress this month. Comment below with ideas or suggestions or join the conversation online use #StressAwarenessMonth and tag @trunovusops on whichever social platform you prefer.
And remember, it’s Ok to not be OK.