by Justin Standfield
Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992 to increase public awareness about the causes, symptoms and remedies for stress. According to the Mental Health Foundation 74% of UK adults felt so stressed at some point in 2019 that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Now there’s a pandemic to deal with, so Stress Awareness Month couldn’t be upon us at a more appropriate time.
We know that everyone is living through a very difficult and uncertain experience right now, so it’s more important than ever to look after our mental health as best we can. Earlier this week, I kicked off Incendo’s free programme of 12 webinars, Mindfulness In The Mayhem. This programme is just one of the ways Incendo is providing free support to people and organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’m pleased to say that we now have 100 participants!
This week we’ve also been creating video content on wellbeing, recording a personal development podcast and designing a booklet of mindfulness tools for young people. I thought I would start the month off by using the Incendo blog to share some tips on how to de-stress during this difficult period of time; these ideas come from a range of organisations who are doing great work in this field.
But first, to quote PM Boris Johnson, “I’m going to level with you”.
There’s every chance that you’ll have seen some of these tips on other websites or in articles recently, because those of us who work in people/organisational development and wellness are giving out similar messages at the moment. Like me, you could sometimes wonder “what else is there that I could be doing to lower my stress?” and perhaps assume that there’s an elusive, magical approach out there that would be perfect for you…but you haven’t discovered it yet. Again like me, you might be somewhat fatigued with the samey lists that encourage you to get good sleep, do some exercise, think positive, eat nutritious food, reduce your nicotine/alcohol intake and above all else…be mindful. Here’s the thing – the reason that we keep seeing all of these similar suggestions is that they work. Research tells us that they’re effective, the evidence is clear. But I know that they only work for me if (a) I remember to do them and (b) I open my mind to the possibility that they could work for me.
OK, levelling over!
Before I signpost you to some of the great resources on other people’s websites, remember that Incendo has published several wellbeing-related blog articles over the last few years. There are dozens of articles in our blog, but I’ve selected the following six to highlight during Stress Awareness Month as they offer insights and ideas on stress, mindfulness and wellness for individuals.
There are some fantastic resources out there that are made freely available on the the following websites:
Mental Health Foundation
The Mental Health Foundation website has information on how to look after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Mind’s online resources contain practical advice for staying at home and managing your mental health.
Stress Management Society
Their 10-Step Stress Solution and other free resources are suitable for both individuals and companies. Their website has a free Stress Test and downloads aimed at promoting Stress Awareness Month 2020.
Rethink Mental Illness
In order to assist their supporters and staff, Rethink have set up an online hub to provide practical COVID-19 support and information that’s useful for people living with (or supporting people with) mental illness.
Among other things, their website explains the common symptoms and causes of stress; it also looks at some of the practical ways you can reduce stress.
Their advice page is very useful for young adults and children who are struggling with self-isolation or the impact that coronavirus is having on their mental health.
The UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health has a new section dedicated to the pandemic, with an emphasis on looking after yourself.