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Stress Awareness Month: managing stress

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April is Stress Awareness Month, which aims to increase awareness of stress, its impact on our health and wellbeing as well as ways in which to cope with it.

In our previous article, we learned that stress is the body's reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure.

Healthy levels of stress can help us perform well and achieve our goals, but it can become problematic when it impacts on our ability to cope with any challenges we face. Most of us can cope with short periods of stress, but if it is prolonged it can become chronic and have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing.

Noticing the warning signs when things become too much and taking steps to address them is an important part of managing stress. You can find out more about this in the helpful guide Managing Stress by CIC, who provide our Employees Assistance Programme.  

All of us are susceptible to things that trigger stress, and many of us will be affected by it in different ways - finding a coping strategy that works for you can be helpful, especially those that focus on the long-term rather than the immediate here and now. Some coping strategies may feel like a quick win but can actually be harmful, such as having a ‘well deserved drink' or distracting yourself by binge-watching a TV programme.  

The Talking Toolkit can be a useful tool in starting conversations about preventing work-related stress. It is based on six key themes and is designed to get managers and colleagues talking about any issues that may be contributing to stress.

Beware of Burnout

Burnout is described as physical or mental collapse caused by stress. It can occur when we feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet the constant demands we may face.

Signs to be aware of include:

  • a decline in general health
  • poor concentration
  • change in mood
  • anxiety
  • disturbed sleep
  • increased use of unhelpful coping strategies

You can find more help and advice in the CIC Preventing burnout information sheet.

Don't forget that our Health and Wellbeing pages offer many additional resources for coping with stress. You will also find details of our health and wellbeing services, including our confidential Employee Assistance Programme and Wellbeing Peer Support network.  

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