Stress Awareness Month – COVID-19: ‘Regaining Connectivity, Certainty and Control’

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April 2021 marks Stress Awareness Month, which has been held in the UK since 1992, to highlight both the causes and cures of stress.

The Stress Management Society recently found that 65% of adults in the UK have felt more stressed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March last year. Therefore, this year’s theme for Stress Awareness Month is ‘Regaining Connectivity, Certainty and Control’.

Many people can experience feelings of stress from both small and large incidents. Traffic jams or watching your favourite sports team lose to bigger life events such as being under pressure from work, worrying about a family issue, or experiencing poor health. However, if these feelings of stress are ignored, you may start to feel worse as time goes on and notice a change in your emotional and mental well-being. You may feel unfocused, irritable, and overwhelmed. If you continually brush these feelings aside, you may start to experience physical symptoms of stress such as headaches, exhaustion, muscle pain or a change in appetite. A prolonged and constant feeling of stress is known as ‘chronic stress’, which can have a detrimental effect on your health and lead to illnesses such as depression or high blood pressure. (VeryWell Mind, 2020)

So how can we use this year’s theme to deal with stressful times in our lives? With the COVID-19 pandemic adding extra strain to many people’s day-to-day lives, it is important to recognize if you are stressed and learn how to deal with it. Working from home, home-schooling, not being in a routine, missing your loved ones or dealing with grief can all contribute to added unwanted stress.

Here are some tips in line with this year’s theme;
Connectivity - It is easy to feel disconnected from others due to lockdown, social distancing and even not seeing a person’s friendly smile underneath their mask.

Certainty – The COVID-19 pandemic was unexpected and has created a lot of uncertainty around day-to-day life and the future.

Control – Feeling like you have lost control can be overwhelming but it is completely normal. The sense that we can’t control the outcome of COVID-19, has left a lot of us feeling anxious.

AWARE provides resources if you are feeling stressed. Click here for tips on managing stress.

You can also visit the COVID Wellbeing NI Hub for more information.

 Find out more!