This week is International Stress Awareness week, with 7th November being National Stress Awareness Day.
These days there can be few people who are unable to identify any major sources of stress in our lives. Work pressure, family demands, upkeep of homes, financial concerns, uncertainty about the future are standard fare these days.
Demands of work are higher than ever before with people expected to work long hours to prove commitment to the job, and to be available via phone or email even when on holiday.
In the UK, the total number of working days lost in 2015/6 and thought to be attributed to stress was 11.7 million days. Stress accounted for 37% of all work-related health cases and 45% of the total working days lost. The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work-related stress, depression or anxiety were workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support.
Family demands are also increasing, with the “sandwich generation” often looking after spouses, children, elderly parents, and older siblings, as well as looking after the house, and often holding down a job as well! Because of the lack of affordable housing, young adults are staying at home longer than before and reducing pensions and social care mean that elderly parents have to be cared financially and physically by their middle-aged offspring.
Even children, it seems, aren’t just allowed to play after school, but must be engaged in some “improving” and results-driven activity (which the parents usually have to drive them to and from).
Some of us are old enough to remember a time when it was said that the newly emerging technology of computers would give us more leisure time, but the exact opposite has happened. Technology now invades our leisure time and makes us accessible to outside demands 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Children and teenagers, in particular, are more addicted to technology and social media, but rather than it helping them feel more connected, they are often bullied or left feeling depressed, isolated, or inadequate if they feel their life doesn’t match up to those on screen.
And let’s not even get started on the negative effect that Electro Magnetic Frequencies from these gadgets may be having on our nervous system, neuro transmitters, hormones, brain function, ability to sleep, etc.
Stress and Health
Stress can negatively impact every area of our body and have devasting effects on our health. Digestive issues, weight gain, headaches/migraines, raised blood pressure and cholesterol, lowered immunity, skin complaints, depression/anxiety, hormone issues, inflammation, low libido, fatigue, brain fog are just some of the many symptoms that can be caused or exacerbated by stress.
What to do About Stress
In his excellent book “The 4 Pillar Plan” Dr. Rangan Chatterjee has some great suggestions for reducing stress in your life. He suggests:
- Making some me time every day: – 15 mins to be selfish and do something just for you (that doesn’t involve a smartphone, tablet or computer!)
- Weekly screen-free sabbath: – Take a break from your technology addiction for one day per week
- Keep a gratitude journal: – Every night before going to sleep write down three things that you were grateful for today
- A daily practice of stillness – Dr. Chatterjee suggests 3-4-5-breathing – breathing in for a count of 3, holding for a count of 4, and exhaling for a count of 5. Doing this for just 5 minutes per day can have a profound effect on your stress levels, and longer can be even more beneficial
- Eat one meal a day around a table (without an e-device): Reconnect with your family and/ or yourself by “reclaiming your dining table.
So, it is important that we recognize and acknowledge the stress in our lives, and make an attempt to address it by making a few small changes. You don’t have to do all of these at once. Try just incorporating one at first, and then gradually make the time and space to include the others.
Making time and space to visit Homefield would also be a fantastic way of making some real quality me time, and autumn is the perfect time to do it. Turn your life around with a one to one session with our Wellness Coach or our Nutritional Therapist. Indulge in some blissful massages and facials, enjoy our Nordic Walking and yoga sessions, sweat it out in our infra-red sauna, or just snuggle up in your fluffy dressing gown in front of our log fire and read a good book. We look forward to seeing you!