Today is national stress awareness day and to highlight this important day our colleague at Geraldine M has written this wonderful piece.

Stress Awareness Day

I heard a comedian talking about how normal it is to talk about feeling stressed… that we say ‘I feel so stressed at work’ or ‘my children make me feel so stressed’. If we said my work or my family life makes me feel unhappy instead of ‘stressed’ maybe we’d think about doing something differently … and whilst being challenged can be rewarding, in the long term feeling stressed may not be good for our physical and mental wellbeing and in our relationships with the people around us.
There are all kinds of symptoms of stress from emotional effects like feeling tearful, to physical problems like back, neck and shoulder pain or problems sleeping and even changes in your behaviour like avoiding doing things or being irritable with people close to you… but when I think about stress I think about it feeling like there are more demands being made of you than you are able to deal with.
There are two solutions then:
–           to reduce the demands on you
–          or to increase your ability to deal with what is asked of you.
Reducing demands on you could mean talking to people around you and asking for help, it could mean lowering the standards you set for yourself or it could mean looking at doing things differently – perhaps there is a problem you have been putting off dealing with?
Improving your ability to deal with a busy life could involve keeping a good balance of important activities – taking more time for exercise, relaxation, hobbies or time with friends and planning regular breaks. Perhaps organising or planning your time more clearly would help; for example ensuring you don’t put things off or to help you tackle one thing at a time so that you do not feel overwhelmed.
Why not take a moment to yourself today – look out of the window, take your mind off your daily concerns and see if you can catch sight of a bird like the handsome robin in the picture seen in Leeds this week!
If you would be interested in more information the IAPT service runs free Stress Control Classes during the day and evenings and also online programmes about managing stress. You can contact the Touchstone team on 0113216300 or find out more information online at