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April is Stress Awareness Month. Read below for some information on stress and a few resources.

 

What is Stress?

It’s important to first understand stress and what stress feels like. Stress is the body’s response when we feel under pressure or threatened. Physically the body produces a response through a rush of hormones essentially preparing the body to fight or flee.

While it’s great in helping us survive dangerous scenarios, when our body produces this response to inappropriate situations it’s challenging. Being stressed isn’t always a bad thing but if we find ourselves in a state of stress for a long period of time can be damaging to our health, both physical and mental.

Check out this article by Mind which outlines the following possible psychological and physical signs and symptoms of stress.

 

Exploring your Stress?

Knowing what triggers your stress means you can take active steps to manage it. Stress, as a result of a big life event, can be an obvious cause. Stress can also occur as a result of lots of little events that can feel overwhelming, and it can be hard to pick what is causing your stress, or if it’s all of it! Once you start to feel stressed it can be hard to then manage any additional or unexpected event that comes your way. Learning to identify your stress triggers is really important and can help you then know how to deal with your stress.

If you think exploring your stress in in more derail might be helpful, you can try completing this worksheet on Stress Exploration. By describing your biggest stressors, and rating them on a scale, you may also help identify what is causing you a lot of stress or only a little. This makes it easier when tackling the causes of your stress.

 

Managing your Stress

The Stress Management Society offers a free Individual Stress Test. It focuses on lifestyle questions and common stressors. They will email you a confidential report based on your responses which will include some tips to help you improve lifestyle factors which, in turn, may improve your stress levels. Give this a go and make a note of any additional things you could be doing to help make you more resilient to stress in your day-to-day life.

A simply quick win can also be the 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Activity.

 

Give some of the above a go and see if you find it helpful for you!

 

Exercise and healthy eating is important to addressing stress, if we feel better we can often cope better.

Try this Chicken Jalfrezi recipe Cancer Research UK has a great article suggesting 30 fun ways to exercise to give you some inspiration.

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