Updated: Apr 26, 2022
April is Stress Awareness Month; it’s likely you’re already ‘aware’ of stress, but are you aware of your own stress when it happens, and aware of what helps to get rid of it?
What is stress? How do I recognise it in myself? How do I recognise it in others?
Stress is the body’s response to feeling worried or under pressure. It can be what happens when we’re asking ourselves to achieve a lot of things at once, or when we feel we must do things we don’t want to do. Stress can lower our mood and our self esteem, and have a negative impact on our mental and physical health.
For a lot of us it is luckily only temporary or now and again (known as acute stress), but it can also continue into the long term (known as episodic stress and chronic stress).
It helps to notice the first signs of stress to be able to cool it down before it gets totally overwhelming. It can vary for all of us but here are some common signs:
Becoming irritable at small things such as mistakes, sounds, other people
Physical symptoms such as headache, stomach ache, becoming restless or twitchy, taking shallow breaths
Ignoring your needs, for example forgetting to eat and drink because you feel too busy, sleeping less, not having time for anything you enjoy
Being less cheerful, less energetic, not finding jokes funny because you’re stuck in serious mode!
How can I soothe my stress?
Of course there are popular options like having a bubble bath, eating chocolate, taking a walk in the fresh air, watching some Netflix, and spending time with your pet or significant other.
But sometimes it’s not as simple as that, and we may need to face our worries head on, and do things that can help us see that the situation isn’t as big or as scary as we thought it was.
Here are some suggestions:
Talking to someone about what’s on your mind
Writing your stresses down, or drawing them
Breaking down tasks into small steps, or prioritising what is easiest and best for you
Edit your schedule to allow yourself breaks and resting time instead of packing too much in at once
Use mindfulness and mediation techniques to be able to observe your stressful thoughts and feelings, but let them go
Get out of your head and get into your body; for example doing your favourite way of exercising - yoga is a great and popular way of letting tensions out of the body
Being kind to yourself and appreciating what you’ve achieved and your progress! Remind yourself that you are enough and that you are doing enough.
How can Space help destress me?
At Space Youth Project, our youth groups can offer a getaway from the stresses of life, and a chance to have some fun and something to look forward to.
We have a range of activities that you may find relaxing and fun, such as doing crafts, drawing, cooking and baking, watching films or playing board games. We also have outdoor activities such as paddle boarding, which will get you out in the fresh air and onto the water, away from being in a classroom or office.
We can help lessen the burden of your worries and stresses by having a chat over messaging our social media, email, or website enquiry. And we can also offer 1 to 1 support and link you to a counsellor.
Our social media is constantly updated with exciting activities and events news, opportunities, helpful resources and positivity which we hope will bring some joy to you!
We are here for you if you need us.
It’s also worth checking out other organisations that can help you and your mental well-being, such as
Dorset Mind Your Head (dorsetmindyourhead.co.uk)
Dorset Mind (dorsetmind.uk)
and the NHS page on stress https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/mental-health-issues/stress/
By Katie Surry