Stress Awareness Month is observed annually in April, with the aim of raising awareness about the causes and effects of stress on our physical, mental, and emotional health. It is a time when individuals and organisations are encouraged to prioritise self-care, stress management, and mental health.

The purpose of Stress Awareness Month is to increase understanding of stress and its impact on our lives. Stress is a natural response to challenging situations, but it can become chronic and lead to a range of health problems, including depression, anxiety, heart disease, and diabetes.

Celebrating this campaign is important because it can help individuals and organisations recognise the signs and symptoms of stress and take steps to manage it. By learning how to manage stress, we can improve our overall health and well-being, boost our productivity, and enhance our relationships with others.

During Stress Awareness Month, people are encouraged to engage in stress-reducing activities such as exercise, mindfulness meditation, and other relaxation techniques. Organisations may also offer stress-management workshops and other resources to help their employees manage stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

How stress impacts the body

Stress triggers the body’s “fight or flight” response, releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones prepare the body for immediate action, increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels. While this response is beneficial in short-term situations, prolonged stress can lead to chronic inflammation, weakened immune function, and increased risk of health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and mental health disorders. Over time, chronic stress can also contribute to sleep problems, weight gain, and digestive issues, demonstrating the profound impact stress can have on the body’s physical and emotional well-being.

Symptoms your employee is struggling with stress

Physical Symptoms

  • Fatigue: Feeling constantly tired, even after resting.
  • Headaches: Frequent tension headaches or migraines.
  • Muscle Tension or Pain: Especially in the neck, shoulders, or back.
  • Stomach Problems: Including nausea, indigestion, or acid reflux.
  • Changes in Appetite: Either loss of appetite or overeating.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restful sleep.

Emotional Symptoms

  • Anxiety: Feeling nervous, restless, or constantly worrying.
  • Irritability or Anger: Short temper and frustration with colleagues or tasks.
  • Depression: Feeling sad, hopeless, or disinterested in work and other activities.
  • Overwhelm: Feeling like you cannot cope with all your responsibilities.
  • Lack of Motivation: Loss of interest in work or difficulty getting started on tasks.
  • Decreased Job Satisfaction: Feeling unsatisfied or disillusioned with your job.

Behavioural Symptoms

  • Withdrawal: Isolating from colleagues or avoiding work-related activities.
  • Procrastination: Delaying tasks or struggling to make decisions.
  • Increased Use of Substances: Such as alcohol, drugs, or smoking to cope.
  • Changes in Performance: Decreased productivity or making more mistakes than usual.
  • Conflict in the Workplace: Increased arguments or conflicts with colleagues.

Get involved today!

  1. Spread Awareness: Share information about Stress Awareness Month on your social media accounts or with your friends, family, and colleagues. Share articles or videos that discuss the effects of stress on health and wellness, and offer tips on how to manage stress effectively.
  2. Practice Self-Care: During Stress Awareness Month, prioritise self-care activities that help you relax and de-stress. This could include meditation, exercise, spending time outdoors, reading a book, or taking a warm bath. Make sure to take breaks from work or other obligations to engage in self-care activities that rejuvenate your mind and body.
  3. Seek Support: If you are struggling with stress or other mental health issues, seek support from a mental health professional or support group. There is no shame in asking for help, and seeking support can help you learn coping strategies and gain new perspectives on how to manage stress effectively.

Find out more

  1. The Stress Management Society – Offers a range of resources specifically for Stress Awareness Month, including guides, tips, and activities to manage stress.
  2. NHS – Every Mind Matters – Provides insights on signs and symptoms of stress, and offers practical advice on how to manage it, including stress-buster techniques.
  3. Bupa UK – Features a business toolkit for Stress Awareness Month, highlighting the importance of managing stress for employee well-being.
  4. Mental Health UK – Offers resources on stress awareness activities and mental health support, providing tips and strategies for coping with stress.
  5. PAPYRUS UK – While specifically aimed at younger individuals, it provides support for those experiencing stress and thoughts of suicide, offering resources and a helpline for immediate support.

Don’t forget…

Take a look at our ultimate guide for managers for stress in the workplace.

Stress at Work: The Ultimate Guide for Managers

Joanne Swann, Content Manager, WorkWellPro
Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.