Stress Awareness Week – Positive Action For Better Wellbeing

Mental Health

This week is Stress Awareness Week (30 October–3 November) and the Public Health Agency (PHA) is encouraging those experiencing stress to participate in free online stress control classes throughout November.

Stress is the feeling of being unable to cope as a result of too much mental or emotional pressure. It can affect our physical health as well as our mental health and wellbeing. 

Common signs of stress include sleeping problems, sweating, loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating, feeling anxious, irritable, low in self-esteem, have racing thoughts, worrying constantly or going over things in your head.

Fiona Teague, Head of Health Improvement (West) at the PHA, said: “We all can experience stress and it is important to recognise the signs in both ourselves, and in others, and take steps to minimise its impact and help to improve our health and wellbeing.

“Stress causes a surge of hormones in our bodies. These stress hormones are released to enable us to deal with pressures or threats – the so-called 'fight or flight' response. People have different ways of reacting to stress. 

“We may lose our temper more easily, drink more alcohol or act unreasonably. People sometimes experience headaches, muscle tension or pain, or dizziness and fatigue. Sometimes when stress is severe or prolonged, it can lead to burnout, with extreme emotional and physical exhaustion.

“The good news though is there are things you can do to help deal with it.”

The PHA is encouraging those experiencing stress to recognise it and take positive action for better mental wellbeing by participating in a free online stress control course.

The programme is used widely around the world is available online in Northern Ireland with details of the dates of the free classes on www.ni.stresscontrol.org.

The sessions let participants know that they are not alone in their experience of stress. They learn how stress can affect their health, how to develop resilience and a set of skills so they can manage their own stress and help prevent its impact in the future.

Previous attendees have said they have felt relieved that they availed of the classes to learn about stress and how to cope with it.

Fiona continued: “Whether its family life, work life, societal issues, or financial burden, particularly with the cost of living crisis, external factors can put pressure on our daily lives and our relationships. Taking steps to help manage those stresses can help us reduce the mental and emotional pressure we can face.

“The easily-accessible and free online stress control classes in November can allow us to take steps to deal with stress.”

Topics in the programme include:

  • an overview of what stress is;
  • controlling your body, controlling your thoughts, controlling your actions and controlling panic;
  • getting a good night’s sleep;
  • boosting your wellbeing.

The stress control course is available online, free-of-charge. You can watch each of the six sessions (90 minutes each) for 48hrs after they go live on YouTube.

For course information and dates visit www.ni.stresscontrol.org.

Session dates are:

  • Session One: Starts Monday 6 November at 9am and is available to view online until 8am on Thursday 9 November.
  • Session Two: Starts Thursday 9 November at 9am and is available to view online until 8am on Monday 13 November.
  • Session Three: Starts Monday 13 November at 9am and is available to view online until 8am on Thursday 16 November.
  • Session Four: Starts Thursday 16 November at 9am and is available to view online until 8am on Monday 20 November.
  • Session Five: Starts Monday 20 November at 9am and is available to view online until 8am on Thursday 23 November.
  • Session Six: Starts Thursday 23 November at 9am and is available to view online until 8am on Monday 27 November at 8am.

Additional resources and self-help tools are available to help manage stress and improve your wellbeing, including:

If you are in distress you can speak to a trained Lifeline counsellor by calling 0808 808 8000 or find out more at www.LifelineHelpline.info.

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Mental Health Helplines & Web Chats

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