In today’s world, it’s nearly impossible to avoid stress. Whether you’re worrying about politics, paying your bills, or looking after your partner, there’s a minefield of reasons to load yourself with concerns and weigh yourself down.
That’s why we all need to remember how to handle our stress, how to detox from the woes of the world and how to help friends who’re dealing with a lot on their plate too. International Stress Awareness Week (ISAW) is an amazing way to remind yourself of the best coping strategies, mindfulness activities and relaxation techniques. It started in 1998 with International Stress Awareness Day, but with the importance of mental health rising steadily to the forefront of peoples’ minds since then, the time has come to expand.
The week for awareness runs from Monday 4th – Friday 8th November, and is organised by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) in the UK. As well as tackling the issues of stress and how to handle it, the ISMA want to help in the fight to end the stigma of mental health. Mental health is a huge topic in today’s world, and everyone’s raising their voices to prove the importance of taking care of our brains as well as our bodies. Another organisation prepared to help raise the importance of the strain of stress is amazing, and getting involved means you can add your support as well. The National Stress Awareness Day falls on the first Wednesday, each November.
Who are the International Stress Management Association?
The ISMA are a registered charity across the UK and Republic of Ireland that aim to educate about the negative effects of stress. They look to reduce the levels of human stress, and regularly arrange talks and workshops for businesses and individuals to learn more about how best to manage their environments and their lives, to make everything that bit easier.
What’s happening during the week?
There’s a whole scheme in place, and the ISMA committee have prepared a full timetable of events, based in London, to cover a variety of topics focusing on stress awareness. Their theme for 2019 is resilience, and the power to succeed.
The overarching idea is to show the importance of resilience, not just at work but in our personal lives too. We all take on so much every day and bounce back so regularly from the general knockbacks of life. That’s why the ISMA want to draw attention to the importance of being resilient, and how people can work together to hone it and improve their own strengths.
If you want to, there’s a whole conference you can attend, with keynotes, awesome speakers, debates and workshops. Or, their popular Stress Fair is back! This is a bit like a giant exhibition of experts who want to help you learn more about how to control your stress. It’s not just full of boring self-help books, either; get top tips on massages and reflexology or learn more about professional therapy techniques to keep your head healthy.
You can book a place for the end-of-week conference, or check out ISMA’s website for all the latest info.
I can’t make it to the events – how can I get involved?
If you’re busy or the very idea of travelling to London is stressful in itself, don’t worry. You don’t need to be in the midst of the conference to take part. The ISMA website has a tonne of great resources for people to check out for free; why not try and organise your own event? Plenty of workplaces are always keen to be included in these initiatives, and you could even try getting your friends and family to spread some relaxation too.
If you’re not a big on organising things, try giving yourself some self-care instead. Take a bath, lock the door and enjoy 30 minutes of uninterrupted peace with a good book (or the newest Netflix original rom-com, whichever you prefer!). Or, get your mates round and put some of your fave tunes on to have a boogie to. Stress relief doesn’t have to be conventional, after all.
Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you’re looking after yourself. If you or someone you love is really struggling with their mental health and stress levels, remember that you can always reach out to people. Get in touch with your GP, health professional, friends and family or even a helpline, and make sure you talk about it.
It always gets better.