Stress Awareness Week

This week is International Stress Awareness week. The event was created in 2018 to focus on stress management and campaign against the stigma associated with stress and mental health issues. In our busy modern-day lives, the word ‘stressed’ is used in our vocabulary quite often. Stress is something that many people have simply learnt to live with, but what exactly is stress? What does it look like? And most importantly, how does it affect us?

Mind.org defines stress as ‘ how we react when we feel under pressure or threatened. It usually happens when we are in a situation that we don’t feel we can manage or control.’  Although stress is intimately linked to mental illness, stress itself is not one. However, it is notable that stress can lead to mental health problems and can make existing problems worse.

Sometimes in life, a little bit of stress can give us a boost of energy and serve as a motivator to finish things. Fortunately, if it doesn’t last for too long, a tolerable level of stress doesn’t have a significant detrimental impact. However, if the stress lasts for a long time and feels very intense, it can hurt our mental health.

Healthcare practitioners state that “acute” and “chronic” stress are two types of stress that are frequently mentioned.

Acute Stress

Acute Stress occurs a few minutes or an hour after a stressful event. Therefore, at times it can feel quite intense but is not usually damaging as it is a common type of stress. Usually, acute stress does not last longer than a month.

Symptoms of acute stress:

  • Disturbed sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Palpitations
  • Low mood

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress lasts for an extended period or keeps coming back. If chronic stress goes untreated, it can have a detrimental effect on your mental and physical health, making day-to-day life difficult.

Symptoms of chronic stress:

  • Changes in social behaviour
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent illnesses and infections
  • Muscle tension
  • Disorganised thinking

Whenever you are experiencing stress, it’s essential to check in with yourself and recognise any potentially serious symptoms. Please click here and here to access our blog postings with advice on how to take care of your mental health.