Modern life is full of pressures and strain and changes in technology such as mobile phones and email, designed to make life easier, have actually made things worse.

Being able to be contacted 24/7, even once you’ve left the office or gone on holiday means that unlike in the past you can no longer truly switch off. And it’s this which can cause significant amounts of stress to gradually build up.

The good news is that with the help of a few simple techniques, it’s possible to combat the effects of stress but even better is the ability to prevent it in the first place. Stress Awareness Day aims to promote understanding of how it’s caused and what can be done to prevent it occurring in the first place.

 

What is Stress Awareness Day?

Now in its 16th year, National Stress Awareness Day will take place on 5th November 2014 at various venues all across Britain.

The idea of the day is to raise awareness of stress and its potential effects and celebrate those who manage to conquer it through a variety of means.

Both individuals and groups can get involved with campaigns, posters or events which help to promote the importance of managing stress and also how to identify it.

Everyone has different ideas about how to deal with stress and how to stop it becoming a problem. Sharing techniques and publicly discussing the subject helps to improve awareness and also remove the stigma.

 

Why is reducing stress so important?

Stress has a huge impact on the workforce in the UK, with an average of 23 days being lost per employee due to stress-related disorders.

Stress often leads to anxiety and depression, and according to the Health and Safety Executive, absence due to these causes cost a total of 11.3 million days off sick in 2013. This dwarfed the number of people off work with musculoskeletal pain, such as back disorders, with just 8.3 million days being lost by comparison.

Stress doesn’t just cause absence from work, it can make it difficult for an individual to function on many different levels, including in personal relationships.

Changes in mood, lack of energy and a difficulty in concentrating can all be symptoms of stress and these can seriously impact an individual’s ability to work.

 

Stress and driving

Being behind the wheel of a powerful piece of machinery, such as a car, is a huge responsibility, even if it is frequently taken for granted. With the ability to inflict serious harm and damage, a calm attitude and the ability to respond quickly - and appropriately - are vital.

Research has shown that feeling stressed increases the risk of having a collision so any occupation which includes driving needs to be particularly vigilant for the signs of stress in their employees.

 

Techniques to reduce stress

Although much of the responsibility lies with the individual, there are steps which a responsible employer can take to help reduce the likelihood of stress, and the pressure on the individual in the workplace.

Examples might include ensuring the employee takes their breaks, and doesn’t just snatch a sandwich at their desk, or whilst on the move, discouraging the use of work texts and emails once they’ve left for the day and providing them with the opportunity to stretch their legs and grab some fresh air where possible.

Individuals can try to spend time with family and loved ones, listen to favourite music regularly, adopt a healthy lifestyle and take some time to consider their work/life balance.

 

Conclusion

Whether you drive for a living or are an office worker, the effects of stress can be extremely detrimental to your personal health and wellbeing. National Stress Awareness Day is designed to promote understanding and help both employers and employees learn how they can help to limit the effects of stress, no matter what their job is.