Stress Awareness Month

Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992. Stress and poor mental health are one of the biggest public health challenges, with 18 million working days lost to poor mental health annually in the UK.

Sadly, even though this is the case, the impact of stress and mental wellbeing on our everyday lives still isn’t taken seriously enough. According to Mind, although stress is thought of by most people as something that affects our mental health, there can be many physical signs, including: difficulty breathing; blurred eyesight or sore eyes; muscle aches and headaches; chest pains and high blood pressure; indigestion and heartburn; constipation or diarrhea; nausea; dizziness or fainting; and many more.

The truth is that mental and physical health cannot be separated, they exist together as part of a whole and just as experiencing one can affect the other negatively, so can improving one positively impact on the other.

During April, health care professionals, health promotion experts, voluntary and community organisations across the country join forces to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.

If you feel that stress is causing you problems you can see your GP, but there are other ways that you can help yourself to combat the effects of stress, including – you guessed it – by volunteering. It can seem counter-intuitive, especially as stress is often associated with doing too much, but there is lots of evidence to show that volunteering counteracts feelings of stress, anxiety, anger, and all manner of other negative mental wellbeing effects. As explains, the social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection to another person. Working with pets and other animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.

Another way of combating stress and improving mental wellbeing is getting out into nature, whether as a volunteer with one of the many Friends of groups across our district, or simply enjoying the outdoors – and Lancaster and Morecambe have plenty of beautiful outdoor spaces! If you would like to find out where and how you can get involved, whether to help with stress or for any other reason, contact us for a chat.