Posted 4.11.2020

Today is National Stress Awareness Day 2020. Stress and mental health problems have never been more important than now, and the challenges they present are never more acute than in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many thanks to Heather and Nicky, Disability Action's in-house Health & Wellbeing Champions for putting together this information.

Stress can manifest itself in a number of ways and there are a range of symptoms that people experience whenever they’re feeling stressed – these can include heart palpitations, sleep difficulties, feeling very hot and rapid breathing, headaches, dizziness, stomach problems, difficulty concentrating and muscle tension or pain.

Stress in small amounts however is a completely normal human reaction – and its only when it develops into a regular occurrence that it starts to become a problem.

Whether your stress is COVID-19 related or not, here are a few tips that can help you try to cope before things get too much:- 

  • Be Kind to yourself and others - remove the pressure, if you’re not accomplishing much – that’s ok. As long as you get up, get washed and dressed and eat nutritious food.
  • Try to Relax - take a break from reading about what’s going on and do something fun or relaxing.
  • Unplug – turn off the news for a while : Netflix binge, watch a film or read a book instead.
  • If you’re felling overwhelmed or your thoughts are racing – take deep breaths – in for 7 seconds and out for 11 seconds.
  • Go for a walk or do a workout – exercise is one of the best things for your mental health and your immune system.
  • Connect with others – especially as most of us are currently working from home – make use of phone calls, MS Teams, Zoom, Face Time etc.

Don’t look too far ahead – try to take one day at a time. We have no control over the weeks and months ahead. We can only follow the recommended guidelines to keep ourselves safe. Ask yourself – what can I do today to make me feel better? Take some time for a self-care activity.

Download the Health & Social Care ‘Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing’

Other useful websites and apps