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Stress Awareness Month – Our Top Tips to Take Action at Home

Welcome to the first in our series of blogs for April, where we'll follow the theme of Stress Awareness Month and look at how to take action against stress at home, at work and in the community.

It's no secret that stress can take a toll on our health. But what many people don't realise is just how much stress we face from within our own homes.

Whether it's caring for ageing parents, juggling work and family responsibilities, or managing finances, there are countless sources of stress in our daily lives.

But the good news is that there are things we can do to manage the stress in our lives. This article will look at the causes of stress and share our top tips to take action against it.

Causes of stress in the home environment

Pressures and demands

Pressures and demands that cause stress in the home environment can vary from person to person. However, common stressors include relationship issues, financial concerns, and lack of time. Other personal issues, such as family matters or even arguments with children, can be very draining and lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.

Stress can also be caused by daily hassles such as housework, childcare, and even trying to maintain a work-life balance. Identifying the causes of stress and working on ways to reduce or manage them is essential.

Unresolved conflicts

The effect of unresolved conflicts on stress in the home environment can be significant. When left unaddressed, poor communication, high levels of stress, and a lack of effective conflict management can all contribute to an increasing sense of tension and discontent between partners. This can lead to misunderstandings, arguments, and an overall feeling of negativity. It is crucial to learn to communicate effectively and work together to resolve any conflicts to reduce stress.

Lack of resources

When stress levels are high, it can lead to a feeling of lack of control, which can manifest in an inability to manage finances, find suitable housing and access other resources necessary to create a safe and secure home environment. Additionally, difficulty securing and maintaining employment can further contribute to a lack of resources in the home environment.

Lack of support

Having a supportive network of family, friends, and colleagues is key to reducing stress in the home environment. Other types of support could include joining an organisation, attending a support group, or getting professional help.

Additionally, engaging in activities with friends and family, such as shared hobbies and sports, can create a sense of community and connection. 

Unpredictability

Unpredictability is a lack of control or certainty in your life. It can be a significant cause of stress in the home environment, leading to feelings of insecurity and vulnerability. Unpredictability can make it challenging to plan for the future, leading to a lack of confidence in your ability to meet your goals. It can also lead to fear of the unknown, which can be a source of stress.

Unpredictability can also cause feelings of helplessness, as it can be difficult to predict the outcome of a situation and prepare appropriately.

Overload of tasks

An overload of tasks in the home can cause stress when there is too much to do and insufficient time or energy to complete it all. This can lead to anxiety and exhaustion as you feel you can never finish everything on your plate. It can also create a sense of guilt or failure when tasks are not completed due to a lack of time or resources. Without the proper time management strategies, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tasks that need to be done.

Poor self-care

Poor self-care is the neglect of physical and emotional needs, which can be a major cause of stress as well as a symptom. When you don’t have time for adequate sleep, physical activity, balanced and varied diets, relationships, and self-expression, your physical and mental wellbeing can suffer.

Without these essential components of health, you can experience various mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

Poor self-care can also lead to unhealthy coping strategies, such as over-consumption of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco - which only worsens the problem.

Environment

When thinking about the causes of stress in the home, we often don't consider environmental factors. These could be:

  • Noise
  • Light
  • Clutter
  • Temperature
  • Pets
  • Crowded Spaces
  • Lack of Privacy

What are the symptoms of stress?

The symptoms of stress can be wide-ranging, including physical, emotional, and behavioural signs...

Physically, you may feel headaches, light-headedness, rapid breathing and heartbeat, and even stomachaches.

Whereas emotionally, you can feel depression, anxiety, or even an inability to cope.

Finally, behaviourally, you may become irritable, impatient, or angry. These symptoms can damage your mental and physical health if they are not addressed correctly.

Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to reduce stress at home. And by understanding the symptoms of stress and taking the necessary steps to reduce it, you can make your home a much more relaxing and peaceful environment.

Tips for managing stress at home

Practice relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques such as guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress levels quickly. Meditation also brings short-term relief and lasting stress management benefits.

Focusing on the present moment through mindfulness can also prevent rumination and worry, allowing you to focus on the here and now rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

Deep breathing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce stress. Taking slow, deep breaths can help to relax your body, relieve tension, and improve your mood.

Various stress management techniques are available, and what works for someone else may not work for you, so it's vital to try as many as possible to see which you find most beneficial. 

Exercise

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and help you feel better both mentally and physically. It can also help to improve your mood and reduce fatigue.

Eat Well

Eating a balanced diet can help to reduce stress and improve your overall health. Eating well can also boost your energy levels, which can help you to cope with stress more effectively.

Establish healthy boundaries (and keep them)

Create boundaries for your time, including your work-life balance. Many people find saying "no" challenging; however, once you get used to it, you'll soon see how much more relaxed you become. 

Slow Down

Taking time to slow down and rest can help reduce stress levels. This includes making time to get adequate sleep and being mindful of how you spend your time. Try to make sure you're taking breaks to rest and relax. It may be helpful to schedule this time in your diary each day.

Make Time for Hobbies

Making time for activities you enjoy can help reduce stress levels and give you a sense of purpose and satisfaction.

Talk About Your Problems

Connecting with people and talking to someone you trust is a helpful way to reduce stress. Talking through your problems with a friend or family member can help to put things into perspective and relieve some of your stress.

Manage your environment 

Try avoiding people and situations that cause you stress as best as possible. For example, if you work from home, ensure you have a quiet workplace where the people around you don't disturb you.

Seek professional support 

A counsellor, coach or therapist can help if you find yourself overwhelmed by negative thoughts. They will help you to get back on track and make positive changes.

What is Stress Awareness Month?

Stress Awareness Month is an annual event designed to raise awareness about the prevalence of stress and its effects on our physical and mental health.

It is held every April to educate people on managing and reducing stress in their everyday lives. During this month, organisations from around the world offer tips, resources, and activities to help individuals cope with the stressors that they are facing.

At MHIB, we are taking bookings for our brand-new Stress Awareness Masterclass. For more details about how this powerful session can make a difference to your team, contact us here.

 

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